Stockton Mayoral Candidates Wage War Over Social Media

STOCKTON -- The creepy clown scare causing fright in the four corners of the country thanks to social media has crept into the social media war underway in the Stockton mayoral race.

Wednesday, owners of the four-month-old House of Ice Cream posted a picture of current Mayor Anthony Silva who's running for re-election.

It said: "Breaking news: Clown spotted outside House of Ice Cream. #tubbsformayor."

In the roughly 35 comments and replies following the post, about five more favored the mayoral critique than criticized the business.

FOX40 tried to find out what about mayoral challenger councilman Michael Tubbs motivated shop owner Rod Tyler, but when asked, he first said, "Honestly, I don't even know."

Then he offered that he just thought the picture was hilarious, that he's never voted and finally alluded to Silva's run-ins with the law.

"I thought maybe it was sort of something a clown would do," he said.

His post followed an intense 24 hours on Facebook and Twitter for Silva and Tubbs.

At 11 p.m. Tuesday, Silva posted what some have called a rant on Facebook, calling out the city manager for constantly being out of town and not living in city limits, and calling out his opponent for living with his mother and taking donations from outside the city.

Tubbs has bested Silva in fundraising for the last reporting period with almost $80,000 to the mayor's $1,500.

One of Tubb's donors?  A former CEO of MTV.

"If they're taking large sums of money, you have to ask yourself does anyone give you money and expect nothing in return? Chances are they're gonna call for a favor one day," said Silva.

Tubbs said he's not selling favors.

"I don't see what the CEO of Yahoo or Steve Jobs' widow or people like Oprah Winfrey would want from the mayor of Stockton, but people respond to leadership," said Tubbs.

We caught up with the mayor and his campaign bus as he visited the family of Jose Nunez, the city's latest homicide victim and cousin to 3-year-old Melanie who was killed last week.

He says trying to heal Stockton's many ills has left him little time to be a candidate.

"I'm a very hands-on mayor and that is very scary to the establishment. They don't want someone who has a direct link to the community," he said.

Despite his own DUI, Tubbs said with a mayor who's had his computers seized by Homeland Security and been arrested for allegedly providing alcohol to and recording audio of teen campers playing strip poker, voters want change.

"They're tired of the circus and the finger-pointing and pandering and the pontificating. And they're really ready to move forward," said Tubbs.

Though Tubbs says his 'imagine a city' tweets were a response to voter requests and not a reply to Silva's 'imagine a city' Facebook post, there are some things about that post that he wants to clarify directly.

Tubbs says he hasn't lived with his mother since he was 17 and does have a college degree.