Kenosha County voters elected a Republican to fill the county executive seat Tuesday for the first time in decades, just months after the Wisconsin county was the center of attention during the Kyle Rittenhouse trial.
Republican Samantha Kerkman was elected as county executive, beating Democrat and Clerk of Courts Rebecca Matoska-Mentink. Kerkman is the first Republican to hold the office, which is described as non-partisan, according to The Associated Press. She is the fifth county executive to be elected, according to Kenosha News.
Swing county in a swing state Kenosha County swung both ways last night (as @joeminocqua pointed out):
-picking Republican-backed Samantha Kerkman for county executive
-picking Democratic-backed Lori Kornblum for WI Appeals Court. Kornblum ended up losing the race to Maria Lazar. pic.twitter.com/QmNBPKZ3M3
— Jason Calvi (@JasonCalvi) April 6, 2022
Kerkman is the county’s first female executive, according to Fox 6. (RELATED: We Witnessed The Kenosha Shootings. Here’s What Really Happened)
Former President Donald Trump won the swing county in 2016 by over 230 votes, becoming the first republican to do so since Richard Nixon, according to Fox 6. Trump won the county in 2020 again by 2,700 votes, according to the report.
The county received widespread attention beginning in 2020 after Jacob Blake was shot and injured by a police officer. The incident coincided with nationwide riots and protests following the murder of George Floyd. Several businesses were burned down in Kenosha during the riots.
Kyle Rittenhouse fatally shot Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber while injuring Gaige Grosskreutz during an August 2020 night of rioting in Kenosha. Rittenhouse was acquitted on all charges in November following a highly-publicized trial.