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Kenosha has elected its first ever GOP executive after the city was hit by Black Lives Matter riots that caused $50 million of damage.   

The state turned red for the first time in since 1998 and saw Samantha Kerkman elected as county executive.

Kerkman was backed by Republicans, although the race was described as being ‘nonpartisan’. She was running against Democrat Rebecca Matoska-Mentink, with political pundits saying Kerkman’s win is another sign of the ‘red wave’ that will see Republicans hammer the Democrats in the November midterms. 

Kenosha was traditionally a swing county but the county had not voted for a Republican presidential candidate since Richard Nixon campaigned in 1968. 

GOP Samantha Kerkman of Kenosha

GOP Samantha Kerkman of Kenosha

Democrat Rebecca Matoska-Mentink of Kenosha

Democrat Rebecca Matoska-Mentink of Kenosha

GOP-backed Samantha Kerkman, left, defeated Democrat Rebecca Matoska-Mentink in Tuesday’s Spring Election to become the next Kenosha County executive

Rioters set fire to buildings across Kenosha, destroying over 100 businesses and causing $50million in damage, between August 24 and August 28 after Jacob Blake was shot by a white cop

Rioters set fire to buildings across Kenosha, destroying over 100 businesses and causing $50million in damage, between August 24 and August 28 after Jacob Blake was shot by a white cop

Rioters set fire to buildings across Kenosha, destroying over 100 businesses and causing $50million in damage, between August 24 and August 28 after Jacob Blake was shot by a white cop 

The chaos in Kenosha came as the result of this shooting on August 23. Jacob Blake, a black man (shown in white) was shot in the back by Kenosha cop Rusten Sheskey. Blake was armed with a knife and the police had been called by his girlfriend who said he had their child. Sheskey shot him seven times in the back. He was never charged, because both federal and state prosecutors ruled they wouldn't have been able to prove that he wasn't in fear of his life, since Blake was armed

The chaos in Kenosha came as the result of this shooting on August 23. Jacob Blake, a black man (shown in white) was shot in the back by Kenosha cop Rusten Sheskey. Blake was armed with a knife and the police had been called by his girlfriend who said he had their child. Sheskey shot him seven times in the back. He was never charged, because both federal and state prosecutors ruled they wouldn't have been able to prove that he wasn't in fear of his life, since Blake was armed

The chaos in Kenosha came as the result of this shooting on August 23. Jacob Blake, a black man (shown in white) was shot in the back by Kenosha cop Rusten Sheskey. Blake was armed with a knife and the police had been called by his girlfriend who said he had their child. Sheskey shot him seven times in the back. He was never charged, because both federal and state prosecutors ruled they wouldn’t have been able to prove that he wasn’t in fear of his life, since Blake was armed 

Wisconsin is also a swing state. Kenosha county voted for Trump in 2020, but the state swing to President Biden during that election.

This week’s vote for a GOP representative could also be seen as a snub to the Democrat party, which was blasted for being slow to condemn BLM rioters, while many progressive members of the party even called for defunding of the police.

Crime has since soared across most major American cities.  

Kerkman thanked her supporters late Tuesday and pointed to her experience serving as a state representative as resonating with voters. 

‘I think it was the experience that I bring from Madison,’ Kerkman said on Tuesday night as she thanked her supporters. 

 ‘I have been working with the county executive for years on issues that impact the county.’ 

Kenosha, a town of just 99,000, first came to the attention of the entire country after the police shooting of black man Jacob Blake who was left paralyzed from the waist down.

Kerkman, pictured, thanked her supporters late Tuesday and pointed to her experience serving as a state representative in the capital Madison as resonating with voters

Kerkman, pictured, thanked her supporters late Tuesday and pointed to her experience serving as a state representative in the capital Madison as resonating with voters

Kerkman, pictured, thanked her supporters late Tuesday and pointed to her experience serving as a state representative in the capital Madison as resonating with voters

Blake's shooting set off protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August 2020, in a summer that saw nationwide protests over other officer-involved shootings of black people across the country

Blake's shooting set off protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August 2020, in a summer that saw nationwide protests over other officer-involved shootings of black people across the country

Blake’s shooting set off protests in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August 2020, in a summer that saw nationwide protests over other officer-involved shootings of black people across the country

Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, killed two people during the unrest in Kenosha after Blake's shooting

Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, killed two people during the unrest in Kenosha after Blake's shooting

Kyle Rittenhouse, 17, killed two people during the unrest in Kenosha after Blake’s shooting

Rittenhouse surrendered himself to the cops but they didn't arrest him. They later claimed they didn't know who the shooter was

Rittenhouse surrendered himself to the cops but they didn't arrest him. They later claimed they didn't know who the shooter was

Rittenhouse surrendered himself to the cops but they didn’t arrest him. They later claimed they didn’t know who the shooter was

Blake, a black man who was shot in the back on August 23, 2020 during a domestic disturbance with the mother of his children. The cop who shot Blake was never charged because Blake – who survived but is paralyzed – was carrying a knife.

Within 24 hours of that shooting, protesters had taken to the streets and hundreds of others from different cities had flocked to the small town to seize the moment. 

The shooting led to riots and protest following the shooting which also coincided with similar demonstrations across the country after the death of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

The protesters were bolstered by Wisconsin’s Democratic Governor Tony Evers, who immediately decried the Blake shooting on Twitter on August 23.

Within 24 hours, the town of Kenosha – 113 miles from Governor Evers’ mansion in Madison – was under siege. 

The morning after the governor's tweets in the town of Kenosha. A car lot had been burned and other businesses were destroyed in the first night of rioting

The morning after the governor's tweets in the town of Kenosha. A car lot had been burned and other businesses were destroyed in the first night of rioting

The morning after the governor’s tweets in the town of Kenosha. A car lot had been burned and other businesses were destroyed in the first night of rioting 

A police armored vehicle patrols an intersection in Kenosha, Wisconsin during the second night of rioting after the shooting of Jacob Blake, 29. Blake was shot multiple times in the back by Wisconsin police officers after attempting to enter into the drivers side of a vehicle

A police armored vehicle patrols an intersection in Kenosha, Wisconsin during the second night of rioting after the shooting of Jacob Blake, 29. Blake was shot multiple times in the back by Wisconsin police officers after attempting to enter into the drivers side of a vehicle

A police armored vehicle patrols an intersection in Kenosha, Wisconsin during the second night of rioting after the shooting of Jacob Blake, 29. Blake was shot multiple times in the back by Wisconsin police officers after attempting to enter into the drivers side of a vehicle

There were more than 1,000 people at the courthouse alone on August 24, but only 466 cops and National Guard troops on the ground to face them.   

On the second night of unrest in Kenosha, Kyle Rittenhouse shot dead two men and injured a third.

He was acquitted of all charges in during his high profile trial last year, but the city was left ‘looking like a war zone’ business owners said at the time with the cost of the damage believed to be as high as $50 million. 

Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department had 116 sworn officers on the ground that night. Kenosha Police Department had a few dozen more, but fewer than 200.  

On August 26, the day after the Rittenhouse shooting, the county board tweeted that it had asked for 1,500 troops that day. 

There were more than 1,000 people at the courthouse alone on August 24, but only 466 cops and National Guard troops on the ground to face them

There were more than 1,000 people at the courthouse alone on August 24, but only 466 cops and National Guard troops on the ground to face them

There were more than 1,000 people at the courthouse alone on August 24, but only 466 cops and National Guard troops on the ground to face them

Blake said of the unrest: 'I didn't agree with what they were doing, but I understood'. Pictured, an aerial photo made with a drone shows damaged and destroyed businesses

Blake said of the unrest: 'I didn't agree with what they were doing, but I understood'. Pictured, an aerial photo made with a drone shows damaged and destroyed businesses

Blake said of the unrest: ‘I didn’t agree with what they were doing, but I understood’. Pictured, an aerial photo made with a drone shows damaged and destroyed businesses

‘We got the help but not as quickly as we’d wanted, or as much of it as we’d wanted in the time frame,’ a department source revealed.

At the same time, Kyle Rittenhouse – who lived across the state border in Antioch, Illinois, 20 miles away but frequented Kenosha to visit his father’s family – was watching the mayhem play out on social media. 

On the night of August 24, he had just finished a shift at the Pleasant Prairie RecPlex, a gym, when the riots began. 

‘I knew there was protests, demonstrations and riots going on in the later evening. 

‘I saw videos on social media, Facebook live streams, TikTok, I saw the lot being burned down, I saw a police officer being assaulted, he had a brick thrown at his head, and I saw the mattress store owner get knocked out. 

‘I believe his jaw was broken it had to be wired shut or something,’ Rittenhouse said at his trial. 

On the morning of August 25, after a night of violence, the Kenosha County Board begged for more help from Governor Evers, pleading for more troops to be sent to help.

But Evers only sent bolstered the total number of troops 250 and he rejected an offer of federal troops from then President Donald Trump, insisting he could handle the situation on his own.

White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows said at the time: ‘We have a National Guard standing by that if the general for the National Guard needs additional help, we’re there to do it.  

Evers, convinced that 250 National Guard troops would be enough, said he thought it would send the wrong message to the protesters to have federal troops there. 

‘I have no regrets because the only thing I said no to was Homeland Security and I knew that would not work out because of what I saw in Portland,’ he said, referring to the presence of federal troops in Portland, Oregon, which enraged protesters.  

On the ground in Kenosha, vigilantes – like Rittenhouse – weren’t as convinced that the violence would be contained. They had watched the previous night’s chaos unfold and were gathering momentum.

In August 2020, on the ground in Kenosha, vigilantes - like Rittenhouse, pictured, - were not convinced that the violence would be contained, so took matter into his own hands

In August 2020, on the ground in Kenosha, vigilantes - like Rittenhouse, pictured, - were not convinced that the violence would be contained, so took matter into his own hands

In August 2020, on the ground in Kenosha, vigilantes – like Rittenhouse, pictured, – were not convinced that the violence would be contained, so took matter into his own hands 

Demonstrators chant in front of a burning truck in August 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin

Demonstrators chant in front of a burning truck in August 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin

Demonstrators chant in front of a burning truck in August 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin

Speaking of the election results, Ben Wikler, chairman of the Wisconsin Democratic Party, was buoyed by the results, saying Republicans should have performed better in a year that is supposed to favor them. They needed to perform better in swing parts of the state, he said.

‘What we saw last night is a sharply divided state that´s likely to come down to the wire in the fall,’ Wikler said

Conservative candidates picked up school board seats in Waukesha, Wausau and Kenosha, but lost races in Beloit and the western Wisconsin cities of La Crosse and Eau Claire.

The results reinforce the idea that the goal of Republicans getting behind school board candidates in a way they haven’t in the past was to reinforce their base ahead of the midterm elections, Ford said. It also shows that key voters in Milwaukee’s suburbs, who were uncomfortable voting for Donald Trump, swung back and voted for conservatives in the school board races, he said.

That could be a good sign for Republicans heading into the fall, when Evers and Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson are up for reelection in November. 

Johnson last year talked about the importance of local elections heading into the midterm and encouraged constituents to ‘take back our school boards, our county boards, our city councils.’

Republicans also saw wins beyond school board races. The Republican-backed candidate for a state appeals court seat in southeastern Wisconsin, Maria Lazar, defeated a sitting judge who was appointed by Evers.

Source: dailymail

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