Young Politician Gets Surprise Gift from Oprah

By Meghan Kiesel

Jul 6, 2012 10:20am
ht michael tubbs dm 120706 wblog Young Politician Gets Surprise Gift from Oprah

Image credit: Stanford.edu

Oprah has donated campaign dollars – and maybe some of that ‘Oprah Effect’ magic – in support of Michael Tubbs.

Never heard of him? That’s okay – nobody has.

Tubbs, a 21-year-old and recent Stanford graduate is running for city council in his native Stockton, Calif. He first met Oprah at a dean’s luncheon at Stanford in April. After hearing of his goals, Oprah reportedly asked Tubbs how she could make a campaign donation, according to a report from BET. A check arrived in Tubbs’ mailbox days later.

Oprah’s $10,000 donation to Tubbs’ campaign put him one third of the way towards his $30,000 fundraising goal. Born to a 16-year-old mom and incarcerated father, Tubbs calls himself a “political breath of fresh air” who represents a fresh look at a struggling city – one he wants to reinvigorate, as per his campaign slogan, “Reinvent Stockton.”

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Tubbs has joined a select club of politicians in securing Oprah’s support. The TV personality famously endorsed Barack Obama in 2008 and was very involved in his election campaign, raising money and using her show to promote his candidacy. The only other candidate to get high-profile coverage from Winfrey is Cory Booker, the Newark, N.J., mayor who appears frequently in her magazine, O, as well as on her network, OWN.

Could Oprah be betting on a winner again? Maybe so. Tubbs recently nabbed the Democratic nomination for the office, garnering 55 percent of the vote to incumbent Dale Fritchen’s 45 percent in the June 5 primary. Tubbs’ and Fritchen’s names were the only ones on the ballot. Fritchen, who hasn’t been challenged in an election since taking office in 2008, will still face Tubbs in November’s race.

It may take a little more angel investing from Oprah to help the city that Michael Tubbs calls home. Stockton was ranked the most miserable city in America in 2009 based off of criteria such as income tax rates, commute times, poverty levels and violent crime rates. As icing on that cake, the city has also recently filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, making it the largest city to do so. They have nowhere to go but up.

Tubbs’ campaign website describes his campaign as “people-powered” and advertises for events such as a “Reinvent Stockton Block Party.” If elected this fall, he will become the youngest councilman in Stockton history.

Get more pure politics at ABC News.com/Politics and a lighter take on the news at OTUSNews.com

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