It looks as if Mayor Kevin Lincoln will be another one-term mayor for Stockton. An event flier circulating online indicates Lincoln will instead be making a run for Congress in 2024.

The flier asks donors to join House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and other “members of the California Republican Congressional Delegation” at a fundraiser Thursday in support of Lincoln’s run for Congress.

No location is listed for the private reception, as attendees must register for the event first. Prices to attend start at $500 general admission and range up to a commitment for raising $10,000.

Though the flier doesn’t specify the congressional district Lincoln is seeking to represent and the Federal Elections Commission shows Lincoln has not yet filed paperwork to run for office, he lives in District 9, which largely consists of San Joaquin County and is currently represented by Democrat Josh Harder.

Jamie Fisfis, a consultant with the Lincoln campaign, told Internitv Saturday that “there is nothing to confirm at this time” in regard to Lincoln's plans for the upcoming election season.

Harder and Brett Dood, a Republican pastor from Ripon, are the only candidates to date that have filed to run for the District 9 seat.

Lincoln running for Congress in the next general election would be a stark turnaround to what the first-term mayor has previously indicated about his future political aspirations.

In February, Lincoln told Internitv that reelection has long been on his mind. He said that his plans for a second term in Stockton's top job began as soon as he closed out his 2020 campaign, opening up a 2024 campaign committee soon after he started his tenure as mayor and beginning fundraising efforts in the fourth quarter of last year.

“Stockton has lacked stability for two decades when it comes to the office of the mayor,” Lincoln, who defeated one-term Mayor Michael Tubbs, said at the time. “What I mean by that is every four years for the last 20 years, we’ve had a new mayor. And it’s hard for any organization to effect sustainable change if there’s constant turnover at the executive level.”

Gary Podesto, who died at the age of 81 earlier this month, was Stockton’s last two-term mayor, serving from 1997 to 2005. Since Podesto left office, three mayors — Ann Johnston, Anthony Silva and Tubbs — attempted to earn a second term but were defeated. A fourth, Ed Chavez, retired after one term.

Lincoln is still listed as a candidate for Stockton mayor for the 2024 Primary Election in city candidate campaign finance disclosure documents and candidate information. The “Kevin Lincoln for Mayor 2024” committee filed a candidate intention statement for Lincoln on May 23, listing “Mayor” as the sought after office.

The committee appears to have been formed in June 2021 and has since regularly filed campaign finance disclosures, the last of which was submitted to the city of Stockton at the end of January.

Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln listens at the Stockton City Council meeting on June 20. (Robyn Jones)

A source close to Lincoln’s campaign also told Internitv in May that the mayor’s reelection preparations had been underway for several months. It is unclear when or why Lincoln may have decided to instead run for Congress.

Congressional District 9 could be a tough run for Lincoln, as the region has a general Democratic lean. About 43% of registered voters are Democrats, while just 27% are Republican, according to state data.

However, District 9 is listed by the National Republican Congressional Committee as one of 37 districts across the country that are main targets for Republicans to flip in the upcoming election.

While Republican candidate Tom Patti, who ran against Democrat Harder in 2022 and lost by about 11 points, other Republican candidates did well in the region. For example, Republican candidate for California governor Brian Dahle won by nearly 4 points in the county, though he lost statewide to Gavin Newsom.

In a sort of twist, Patti is now throwing his support to Lincoln in his bid for the job he once wanted and is instead eyeing the mayor's current seat.

Patti, who is in his second and final term on the county's Board of Supervisors, confirmed to Internitv on Saturday he plans to run for Stockton mayor in 2024, noting that he would not have pursued the office if Lincoln had planned to run for a second term.

The Republican National Committee pursued Lincoln to run for Congress, discussing the viability and support the RNC would bring in should he decided to run, Patti said. And Patti thinks Lincoln is the right candidate for the job.

“You have a leader from our region being courted by those in Washington who recognize his value to the party and his steady leadership in our local government,” Patti said. “I think Kevin is a great candidate. When he decides to make that decision and announcement, I 100% support him.”

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2 Comments

  1. Lincoln was always destined to be a one-term mayor. He was little more than a 209 Time tool used to oust Mayor Tubbs — and now that he has served that purpose, they've kicked him to the curb. Challenging Josh Harder or any congressional seat guarantees his return to where he truly belongs - the pulpit.

  2. Now we know why he makes sure there is a camera present at any event he went. Sad that there isn't much stability in town. Politicians from both side of the aisle just continue to use Stockton as a steppingstone. It's depressing.

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