St. Joseph County Republicans selected their party chairwoman to fill the seat of a vacant county commissioner seat.
Chairwoman Dr. Deb Fleming won with 24 of the 26 votes cast in a Republican Party caucus meeting among precinct captains. Precinct captains are elected representatives of political parties in their respective precincts.
State law dictates that precinct captains select replacements for county offices. While precinct captains may be elected, these positions often go unfilled. The county party chairperson has the power to fill vacant precinct captain positions.
Fleming announced her bid for the vacant seat last week.
“My whole purpose of getting involved in politics has been to help the community and help St. Joseph County move in a positive direction,” she told WNDU.
Fleming faced Gerard Arthus, Myer Blatt and Michael Ping in the caucus vote to replace outgoing commissioner Marsha McClure. Arthus was the Republican Party candidate for county auditor two weeks ago.
McClure is resigning as county commissioner to move to Atlanta where she will be closer to family.
McClure was elected in 2012 to her first term on the county council. Her seat gave control of the three person body to the Republican Party. It will remain a Republican majority at least through January 2017.
St. Joseph County Democratic Party Chairman Jason Critchlow has vowed to target the seat in the 2016 elections in an effort to reclaim control of the body for the Democrats.
Aside from serving as party chairwoman, Fleming also works as a dentist. She plans to keep her day job but resign from her position as the chair of the St. Joseph County Republican Party.