KENOSHA — If the road to the White House runs through Wisconsin, then candidates have their work cut out for them in Kenosha County. It is what some consider the battleground within the battleground state because Kenosha County flips from Democratic to Republican when it comes to presidential elections.
In 2016, Kenosha County voted in President Trump by just 255 votes. While four years earlier, in 2012, the county voted Democratic with President Obama winning by 9,896 votes. Longtime Kenosha resident Mack McHalffey said it is not a surprise to see the change.
“This whole area used to be factories. It was a very blue-collar town. It was American Motors and Simmons Beddings. This was a working dock,” said McHalffey, pointing to Lake Michigan. “Now it’s changed, it's way different. Not so Democratic anymore. It’s more Republican.
Delivery driver Jamal Ramirez says the upcoming presidential election feel like a toss up again but he sees political leanings.
“Driving around seeing signs and stuff, if that’s kind of an indication. I have seen more Trump signs, to be honest,” said Ramirez.
Thousands of Kenosha County residents have already decided who they are voting for. There have been 30,116 absentee ballots requested, so far and more than 6,788 mailed back in. Those totals are more than three times higher than they were at this point in 2016.
“I have the absentee ballots at home,” said a Kenosha woman who did not want to give her name.
When it comes down to what most people here say will ultimately decide their vote, it is the economy. They want to hear from the candidates during the first debate on Tuesday what their plan to fix it.
“We’re hurting here. They need to bring jobs here,” said voter Charles McLean.
“I want to hear that the economy will improve,” said the woman who would not give her name.