STOCKTON (CBS13) — The city of Stockton, hit hard by the homeless and housing crisis, is now in the middle of a political battle.
Current mayor Michael Tubbs is falling behind in the polls against challenger Kevin Lincoln.
Tubbs made headlines becoming the city’s youngest and first black mayor back in 2016. He won that contest by more than 70 percent of the vote. He’s also been in the national spotlight and has had support from big names like president Barack Obama and Oprah Winfrey.
So what happened that caused Mayor Tubbs to fall behind early in the polls?
Brian Kunk is an associate professor of political science at the University of the Pacific. He says the spotlight may be part of the blame.
“The sense that the mayor may have too much star power and may not be sufficiently focused on doing the work in Stockton,” Kunk said.
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CBS13 tried calling the Tubbs campaign Wednesday but was forwarded to voicemail. We spoke to him Tuesday night.
“I didn’t expect to get 70 percent of the vote like I got four years ago because I did some things, so I’m confident I’ll end up victorious,” he said.
Challenger Kevin Lincoln believes getting boots on the ground in the community helped his campaign.
“People started engaging more and more. And paying more and more attention and asking more and more questions and that was important for me over this last year was to really hear from the people of Stockton,” he said.
Votes are still being counted. Election officials say the next update will be at 9 p.m. on Thursday night.