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Lincoln Defeats Tubbs in Stockton Mayoral Race

November 18, 2020 at 9:08 am

Kevin Lincoln will be the next mayor of Stockton. On Tuesday night, he led incumbent mayor Michael Tubbs by 11,667 votes (12.3 percentage points).

“I want to thank everyone who worked night and day to support my campaign for Mayor… I look forward to collaborating with [Tubbs] on a smooth transition and hope he will continue to enrich our city with his ingenuity and passion for Stockton,” Lincoln said in a statement.

Tubbs conceded to Lincoln on Tuesday night, having trailed him since the initial vote tallies were released on election night. “Today, I am proud to say that in Stockton, whether you want to give back through service to your community, expand your education or build a career, it can all be done here within our city…. I congratulate Kevin Lincoln and wish him the best as our new mayor. He will need all of our support,” Tubbs said in a statement.

This election continues the trend of one-term mayors in the city. Gary Podesto, who held office from 1997-2005, was the last mayor to serve two terms. The win of Lincoln, a Republican, over Tubbs, a Democrat, also keeps up with the office’s bipartisanship. While Stockton, America’s most diverse city, typically swings left for state and congressional races, three of the past five mayors before Tubbs were Republicans.

Lincoln has said that he has already begun the transition process, according to the Stockton Record. He has set up meetings with roughly half of Stockton’s city councilmembers and City Manager Harry Black so far.

Tubbs was elected as mayor in 2016 after serving a term on the city council. He was the city’s first Black mayor, and the youngest mayor of a large American city. He has attracted considerable statewide and national attention for his universal basic income project in the city.

In March, Tubbs won the primary by almost 20 points. However, there were a few signs that the general election was going to be closer. Lincoln matched Tubbs step for step in fundraising after the primary, even outraising him in the period from July to September. He also had considerable support from Stockton’s law enforcement and public safety unions.

Local social media outlet 209 Times also likely had a hand in swaying the race, or at least stirring up anti-Tubbs sentiments. The organization, which has over 200,000 followers on social media, has repeatedly attacked Tubbs and other local politicians for corruption on the basis of dubious or unsubstantiated information.