Election Results2Clinton defeat was a long time coming

By Jason Arndt
Staff Writer

While Wisconsin turned red for the first time since 1984 in a presidential election, Kenosha County’s streak was substantially longer, according to the County Clerk’s Office.

President-elect Donald Trump, who won by a mere 255 votes against Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in Kenosha County, became the first Republican to win the county since 1972 when Richard Nixon also won the state contest.

Before 1972, only one other Republican has won Kenosha County since 1928 when Herbert Hoover was elected, and that was Dwight Eisenhower in 1956.

Of the 77,576 total ballots cast in the recent election, Trump received 36,025 votes compared to Clinton’s 35,770.

But, based on trends since Barack Obama was elected in 2008, it was a matter of time before Kenosha County went in favor of a Republican candidate.

Since 2008, Western Kenosha County communities, which have traditionally voted in favor of the Republican candidate, have seen the disparity between Democratic and Republican votes.

In 2008, John McCain received a collective 10,265 votes compared to Barack Obama’s 8,481 votes.

However, when the City of Kenosha, Village of Pleasant Prairie and Town of Somers were factored in, Obama had 45,827 votes compared to McCain’s 31,602 votes.

But, the disparity grew entering the 2012 election season, when Mitt Romney had 11,207 votes
while Obama had 8,120 in west-end communities.

Throughout the County, including eastern communities, Obama edged Romney by nearly 10,000 votes in 2012.

The scenario was not the same in 2016, when Trump edged Clinton, who did not make a campaign stop in Wisconsin.

According to Erin Decker, Chairperson of the Kenosha County Republican Party, she believes Clinton and Democrats became complacent during the 2016 campaign.

“Based on what I heard around the state, she did not make any visits,” Decker said. “She just figured Wisconsin was a lock.”

One national media outlet, the Washington Post, paid a visit to the City of Kenosha the day after the election.

According to the Washington Post, residents within the city stated change was needed, noting the loss of manufacturing jobs, including at Chrysler, the former American Motors Corp.

Decker agreed, stating voters have grown frustrated with finding jobs suiting families.

“They wanted to make America great again,” Decker said. “We’ve been in a recession over the Obama years.”

Additionally, the Post noted the industrial economy has diminished, replaced by tourism as Kenosha County experienced population growth.

Clinton loss in review
Clinton, who campaigned against Obama in the 2008 Democratic primaries, lost by three points in Kenosha County and her statewide deficit was at 18 points.

Eight years later, Clinton lost again to Bernie Sanders in Kenosha County, this time by 15 points, the Post reported.

Combined with less than favorable results for Clinton in past elections, was the lack “ground game” by the Democratic Party since 2008.

According to county election results, two Western Kenosha County municipalities voted in favor of Obama by a narrow margin in 2008, but both went the other way in the next two elections.

In the Village of Twin Lakes, for example, Obama defeated McCain by just 14 votes.

However, by 2012, Romney and Vice Presidential candidate U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan received 1,433 votes compared to Obama’s 1,233.

In 2016, Trump and running mate Mike Pence saw the 200 votes balloon to more than 600.

The other municipality, the Village of Paddock Lake, voted for Obama by 71 votes in 2008, but 2012, he lost the village by nearly 200.

By 2016, Trump nearly doubled the voting numbers against Clinton, with the President-elect receiving 834 votes compared to Clinton’s 495.

NUMBERS AT A GLANCE
Kenosha County (Including City)
R – Donald Trump/Mike Pence 36025
D – Hillary Clinton/Tim Kaine 35770

  • Trump edged Clinton by 255 votes
  • County wide write-in votes were 1,069, a jump from 170 in 2012
  • Kenosha County Clerks’ Office reports a combined 133 people casting ballots did not mark a candidate for President in all Western Kenosha County municipalities.

Voter apprehension
Two other factors, write-in candidates and voters choosing to leave the presidential field blank, could have also contributed to Clinton’s loss.

In 2012, the Kenosha County Clerk’s office reported 170 voters wrote-in candidates, but the figure grew nearly 10 times the amount in 2016, when write-ins received 1,069 votes throughout Kenosha County.

In total, 133 voters opted not to select a president on their ballots, and instead voted for down-ballot candidates.

Collectively, Town of Salem voters accounted for 36 empty presidential slots on the ballot.

The Village of Bristol, however, had 22 open fields on their presidential ballots.

 
 

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