MISSOULA — Juanita Vero coasted to victory as Missoula County’s newest commissioner on Tuesday night, a role she was appointed to last summer but earned by winning more than 60% of the vote in the General Election.
As of 9 p.m., with 100% of the precincts partially reported and 71% of the ballots counted, Vero had secured 36,796 votes to Republican challenger Alan Ault’s 24,081.
Vero was nominated by Missoula County Democrats last July and selected by county commissioners shortly after from a field of three, including a moderate Missoula City Council member.
Vero replaced former Commissioner Cola Rowley, who resigned her seat to take a job in Bozeman. Vero filled the remainder of Rowley’s term and faced her first election on Tuesday.
“It’s validating for sure,” Vero said on Tuesday night. “To be part of this particular commission, I’m really excited and flattered by what this commission can do moving forward.”
Commissioners Dave Strohmaier and Josh Slotnick selected Vero after she was recommended by the Democratic Central Committee. Vero took the oath in July 2019 and vowed to run for the position this November when the opportunity came.
She named many of the same initiatives as when she took the oath 19 months ago.
“There’s already been some good work in place when I was appointed, and I want to see that come to fruition,” Vero said. “We were able to hire a housing coordinator. I’m excited to see us go forward with that, and we have so many good things in the hopper.”