Incumbent Stockton, California Mayor Michael Tubbs – who rose to fame for his progressive policies and Universal Based Income experiment – lost his bid for reelection last week. He was defeated by Republican challenger Kevin Lincoln and conceded defeat Tuesday, Nov. 17.
In a statement the following day, Stubbs, 30, was transparent about how the loss impacted him.
“As someone who is used to winning, it’s always difficult when things don’t work out in your favor,” Tubbs said. “I put my heart and soul into my job, so I took it very personally.”
Lincoln, who is a military veteran that served on presidential helicopter Marine One during President George W. Bush’s term, is political novice. Yet, he earned 56 percent of the vote according to the Los Angeles Times.
It is a stark departure from 2016 when Tubbs made history as the first Black and youngest person to be elected to the seat. He garnered 70 percent of the vote and rose to national prominence for his progressive policies, Bloomberg CityLab reported.
Tubbs’ backstory is also intriguing. A hometown kid who went on to graduate from Stanford University, intern at the Barack Obama White House then choose to return home to help his impoverished city.
However, the work which endeared him to the national public is listed as one of the reasons he was defeated at home.
“Some residents resented his national profile, viewing him as more committed to his own reputation than to giving attention to the city. Others objected to his progressive policies,” Bloomberg CityLab reported.
The former mayor also pointed to a local Stockton blog, the 209 Times, on which he feels he was the victim of a “four-year misinformation campaign.”
“I think when you spend four years unchecked with no real counter, just blatantly making things up every single day, there’s an impact,” Tubbs said about the 209 Times. “I wish I had a crystal ball to foresee that, but I was too busy doing the work.”
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Former metro columnist for the Stockton Record Michael Fitzgerald agreed with Tubbs’ assessment.
“He was wounded by the 209 Times,” Fitzgerald told the Los Angeles Times in a separate article . He added the blog “just created this false narrative about Tubbs, and they just kept pounding that narrative.”
In addition to his UBI program, which gives 130 Stockton residents financial assistance in the form of $500 cash payments per month, Michael Tubbs also championed affordable housing, advocated against homelessness, etc.
ABC10 Reporter Kurt Rivera said Tubbs was also hurt in the election because wealthier Stockton residents on the city’s Northside felt he alienated them.
Lincoln thanked Tubbs’ for his service in a statement on Facebook.
“I want to extend my appreciation to Mayor Tubbs for his eight years of service to our community,” Lincoln said. “I look forward to collaborating with him on a smooth transition and hope he will continue to enrich our city with his ingenuity and passion for Stockton.”
Political experts and pundits believe Tubbs’ future is still bright despite the defeat.
“He should not be written off,” Steve Maviglio, a Democratic political consultant in Sacramento, told the Times. “The guy reminds me of Bill Clinton. He, like Bill Clinton, had a very tough loss … but I think he’s super smart, super energetic, well-liked — apparently not by the voters of Stockton — but well-liked in the policy groups and political circles.”
Though disappointed by his loss, Tubbs is not deterred.
“All options are open now,” Tubbs said. “It’s always right to be in a good fight and I am more resolute than ever. Today, tomorrow, 50 years from now, 100 years from now, that is all I am going to be doing.”