Riot Ravaged Kenosha Elects a Republican Leader

Michael R. Schmidt /

Kenosha, Wisconsin, a city you had likely never heard of before, became national news back in 2020, a year fraught with riots and all sorts of civil unrest. If you remember, the riots in this town began after a police shooting during which a man named Jacob Blake was shot, leaving him paralyzed.

As this happened just months after the controversial and police-involved death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota, it didn’t take long for those claiming to be in support of Black Lives Matter, against police, and against racism to take to the streets in protest. In the hours and days afterward, what ensued left some $50 million in damages, and two men died.

You will remember that those two men were shot and killed by the then 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse, who also shot and wounded another man in self-defense.

And so, in one evening, the city went from being nearly unheard of to the most talked about place in the nation.

Now that the crazy has worn off and the city is beginning to heal itself, however, it seems the media no longer wants anything to do with it. Perhaps it’s because the citizens there just elected Republican leaders instead of Democratic ones for the first time in decades.

That’s right.

On Tuesday, the people of Kenosha went to the polls to elect new city officials and leaders. And while the positions aren’t necessarily partisan-based, there’s no doubt that the winners were selected because of their ties to their respective political parties.

Enter Republican state Representative Samantha Kerkman who just defeated Democrat Clerk of Circuit of Courts Rebecca Matoska-Mentink for the seat of County Executive. As Fox News reported, it is the first time a GOP member has won the seat since at least 1998. The Associated Press claims a Republican has never held the seat.

As I said, the seat is primarily non-partisan, which means that most campaigns for it aren’t run on political party issues. However, it would be hard to ignore some in a day and age such as this. And so Kerkman decided to issue at least one flyer condemning the actions of Democratic President Joe Biden as well as the state’s Democratic Governor Tony Evers.

According to the flyer, it’s clear that “the failed Biden-Evers agenda” isn’t working for Wisconsin or Kenosha. And by being tied to such a party, Kerkman’s opponent was a part of “the liberal status quo (that) has failed to keep us safe.”

Now, she didn’t mention the riots specifically, but it is important to point out here that both Biden and Evers were quick to jump the gun and make assumptions about what happened in the city long before there was enough evidence to do so.

Within days of that fateful day of August 23, Biden took to Twitter, denouncing Rittenhouse and calling him a “white supremacist.” And Evers, well, even after Rittenhouse was acquitted on all charges by a jury last year, wasn’t willing to change that story. Instead, he issued a statement that condemned the jury members who came to that conclusion and made Rittenhouse’s attackers into the victims.

And then, based on those events, Evers and other Democratic forces throughout the state tried to push the idea of defunding the police, which, as you know, only made things worse.

There’s no real way to tell or not, as there is little media coverage of the recent elections and no polls asking voters about why they voted the way they did. Still, if I had to guess, I’d say that the city wasn’t all that impressed with how the political left handled those events.

And with that, in hindsight, they are looking for leaders who will act much differently.

According to the Associated Press, the county didn’t just get a Republican county executive. In addition, conservatives were also chosen for a number of school board seats, hinting that the expected “red wave has already started,” as some social media users are saying.

Whether that is actually true or not, only time will tell. But it certainly seems to look like a real possibility, and one Democrats nationwide should be worried about it.