League of EXTRAordinary Black Men: Michael Tubbs becomes city’s first black mayor
STOCKTON — City Councilman Michael Tubbs appeared certain to become Stockton’s first black mayor Tuesday night, vaulting to a resounding lead over incumbent Anthony Silva, who seemed all but resigned to the outcome early in the evening.
Tubbs, 26, also appeared headed to becoming Stockton’s youngest mayor, and he noted that many at his downtown victory party were younger still than he.
“We have a great opportunity to show the nation, ‘How do you reinvent yourself?’ ” Tubbs told the audience, which included his beaming mother seated in the front row.
“I’m tired of talking about where we’ve been. I’m more interested in talking about where we’re going. We have to mature as a community and start demanding solutions.”
Silva, 41, began his evening touring the city in a recreational vehicle, then headed for his home in north Stockton. He issued what amounted to a concession statement in a text message early in the evening.
“The people have spoken,” Silva said. “I respect the will of the people. I want to thank everyone who believed in me and stood by me.
“My heart will always belong to Stockton. I will always be remembered as the People’s Mayor and I will support the new mayor and I will ask my supporters to also support him and help us make Stockton an amazing city.”
Tubbs finished with a 40-percentage point victory margin: 70.4 to 29.6.
“It’s amazing, beautiful,” said Tubbs’ mother, Racole Dixon. “This is history now. He did this, and I am so glad. Make sure you put that God is good.”
Bobby Bivens, who heads the local chapter of the NAACP, attended the victory party and noted the historic aspect of Tubbs’ triumph.
“It’s a very important milestone, in particular someone as bright and energetic and with the ability to gather and garner resources around the state and country,” Bivens said. “I’m looking forward to some more positive things happening here in the city.”
Of the apparent election of the city’s first black mayor, Bivens added, “I had hoped it would happen someday. I’m very glad he’s won. I’m very proud of him.”
In his speech, before several hundred diverse and mostly young supporters in a ramshackle building in the process of being renovated, Tubbs thanked his supporters for “your blood, your sweat, your tears, and your unhealthy obsession with hot Cheetos.”
“You don’t get 70 percent of the vote out of nowhere,” Tubbs added. “This victory is yours and ours. This room is what Stockton looks like. It’s people from gated communities and Conway Homes, black people, Asians, white people. Each of us is what it will take to move Stockton forward.”
The race was bitterly contested and at times bizarre.
Though the incumbent mayor, Silva ran his campaign by portraying himself as a political outsider under attack by Stockton’s old guard.
Silva argued that Tubbs was too young, too inexperienced and too connected to Stockton’s power structure. A doctored photo on one Silva flier showed Tubbs wearing a diaper. Another referred to Tubbs’ DUI arrest and no-contest plea in 2014. Silva, however, ran the final months of his campaign under a cloud of legal charges that he continues to fight.
Tubbs was raised by a single mother in south Stockton, earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Stanford University and was elected to the Stockton City Council in 2012. President Barack Obama endorsed Tubbs last week as the campaign reached its final days.
“Stockton has a long history of turning tragedy into triumph,” Tubbs told his audience. “The Stockton I know, I met in this campaign.”
He said the city needs “a government that understands you need to work with and for the people.”
He added, “I am more resolute than ever that Stockton’s best days are ahead. This is a prelude to a beautiful chapter. Michael Tubbs will not write it himself. We will write it together.”