CROWN POINT — Regina “Gina” Pimentel appears on her way to winning a new job title at the Lake County Recorder’s office.
Pimentel was ahead of her Republican opponent Rose Hejl of St. John Tuesday night and — if her lead holds — she would go from chief deputy recorder to being recorder.
“I’m excited and happy and waiting for the other half of the vote to come in,” Pimentel said of her early lead.
Pimentel has served for years as second-in-command over the recorder’s staff of 25 full-time and part-time employees.
A victory means she would be the boss and officeholder responsible for the daily archiving of about 1,000 land ownership, tax and debt-related records and a $1 million budget.
Hejl and the Republican Party were attempting a huge upset — the GOP has only managed one victory in a countywide race in the last seven decades.
Pimentel, of Crown Point, is a native of Hobart. She moved with her family to Florida as a child, but returned to Indiana to attend and graduate from Purdue University.
She worked five years for Indiana Child Protective Services before joining the recorder’s office under outgoing Recorder Michael B. Brown in 2014.
She virtually ran the office herself for 17 months while Brown was under a cloud of controversy following the accusations of sexual harassment by another female employee, who won a $185,000 settlement against the county.