In 2020, Stockton experienced a huge political upset when the Republican pastor of a local church, Kevin Lincoln, unseated Mayor Michael Tubbs. As CalCityNews reported at the time, Lincoln’s good fortune was boosted by a vicious internet campaign that flourished amid the decline of local news. But that’s neither here nor there. The big news, announced Tuesday, is that Lincoln will try to translate his local success into a congressional win.
Lincoln, a former U.S. Marine, will challenge Democratic Rep. Josh Harder in the 9th congressional district next year. So far, he’s using none of the invective we’ve been accustomed to in national politics. Instead, he says he wants to build bridges in Washington, D.C.
Lincoln will have to grapple with some tough questions, like why crime and homelessness are up in Stockton or if he’s rushing into national politics too soon (he hasn’t yet completed his first term as mayor). He already flubbed one question about the GOP House’s defense bill pretty badly (see here at 2:10). But he’ll have plenty of opportunities to correct course. He's also very charismatic, which helps.
Harder didn’t mince words when asked to respond to Lincoln’s candidacy.
“Kevin Lincoln has failed the city of Stockton, plain and simple,” he said. “He diverted money away from police and now the Stockton PD is short over one-hundred cops. Crime and homelessness have soared on his watch."