The District 3 seat on the Board of Commissioners seat became a hinge for the county GOP in 2012.
That was the year a Republican won the seat, giving the party a majority on the board for the first time in recent memory. Now Deb Fleming is defending the seat she helped to win for her party.
Fleming, 60, a longtime Mishawaka dentist, has become well known in local Republican politics over the past decade and during the past six years as commissioner.
She serves as vice president of the board and consistently votes with Kostielney to approve projects and expenditures often opposed by Thomas, such as on matters related to a new county finance software system, the industrial complex plan and the leaf program.
Her opponent is well known locally, too. Democrat Hodge Patel, 47, of South Bend, was an area representative for former U.S. lawmakers for more than