Watch CBS News

How Kenosha Has Become A Critical Place On The Presidential Campaign Roadmap

CHICAGO (CBS) -- President Donald Trump headed back to Kenosha, Wisconsin Monday night, the night before Election Day.

As CBS 2's Chris Tye reported, Kenosha has become an unexpected and important stop on the political roadmap.

President Trump's final campaign stops will be in states that polling indicates he is losing. His last stop will be in Grand Rapids, Michigan late Monday night.

His second to last stop was earlier Monday evening in Kenosha.

"Kenosha! Do I love Kenosha!" President Trump said at a recent rally.

And last presidential cycle, Kenosha County narrowly loved him right back.

"Kenosha county is a typical swing county in a typical swing state," said Phillip Rocco, a political scientist at Marquette University.

In Kenosha County in 2016, 0.3 percentage point separated President Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton in 2016. Of more than 70,000 votes cast in the county, only 238 votes separated the two.

Statewide, President Trump won the state by less than a point – a total of 22,748 votes.

In her book, "What Happened," Clinton wrote: "If there's one place where we were caught by surprise, it was Wisconsin. Polls showed us comfortably ahead, right up until the end."

But of course, the landscape of politics changed this summer in Kenosha. Nine days after Jacob Blake - an unarmed Black man - was shot seven times in the back by a white police officer, President Trump came to talk about rebuilding businesses that were destroyed in the fires and violence that followed and to talk law and order.

Days later, his challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, came to try to debunk the theory that President Trump has made America safer.

"He hasn't, not at all," Biden said in September. "I'm serious."

Of all this, Rocco said, "It ramps up competitive pressure that was already there in Kenosha."

Rocco said Kenosha amplified voter activism, but it doesn't seem to have given either President Trump or Biden an edge going into Tuesday.

"The events of the summer galvanized people affiliated with both parties," Rocco said.

Kenosha County is a split region. In 2012, President Barack Obama carried the county by 10,000 votes – all while former House Speaker Paul Ryan, a conservative Republican, represented the area for 20 years.

Also From CBS Chicago:


View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.