One candidate was re-elected to another term Tuesday night, as the other four advance to a runoff where voters will determine who wins a seat on the Oklahoma City Council between the final candidates in Wards 1 and 3.
Incumbent Councilman Todd Stone was re-elected a second term in Ward 4, defeating two newcomers in a landslide victory Tuesday night.
Stone secured his seat on the council with 64.2 percent of the vote in the southeast Oklahoma City ward, according to the unofficial results from the Oklahoma State Election Board. His challengers, Sam Wargin and Larry Hopper, ended the race with 25.7 and 10 percent.
“I would just like to thank the residents in Ward 4 in OKC for their continued support,” the councilman told Free Press following the win. “I will continue to work hard for all of the residents of our ward.”
Stone, who was first elected in 2017, is a local business owner and a fourth-generation south Oklahoma City native. Stone has emphasized his support for economic investment and improving the city’s infrastructure during his reelection campaign. He received an endorsement from the OKC Fraternal Order of Police for his reelection.
Ward 4 covers parts of South Oklahoma City that includes Moore and Norman city limits and extends east past Tinker Air Force Base.
Wargin said although he’s disappointed with the loss, he’s encouraged by the accomplishments he made in community engagement and voter education during the campaign.
“That was part of the purpose of this campaign was to get the historically underserved and under-resourced community in the inner city southside engaged and excited about local politics,” said Wargin. “And that’s where I feel like I’m headed.”
Wargin said he may consider running again in the future.
In the tightest race of the night, Bradley Carter and Shay Varnell won the most votes out of nine candidates to represent Ward 1. Carter led the race with 26.3% and Varnell followed up closely with 18.6% of the vote.
Ward 1 encompasses much of western Oklahoma City, including Lake Overholser, extending towards Lake Hefner to the east, and includes a large swath of eastern Canadian County south of Piedmont.
The two candidates will compete in the upcoming runoff election April 6 for the vacant seat. The winner will succeed Councilman James Greiner, who has decided not to seek a third term.
In the race for Ward 3, Jessica Martinez-Brooks and Barbara Young will face each other in a runoff election to decide who will represent the southwest OKC ward on the council.
The two candidates won the most votes in Ward 3 with Martinez-Brooks leading with 29.3% of the vote, according to the election results. Young followed with 23.7%, which means the two will advance to the April 6 runoff election.
Ward 3 encompasses parts of the west and southwest sides of the city extending past Will Rogers World Airport, east into Canadian County and south into northwest Cleveland County.
The seat was previously held by Larry McAtee since 2001, becoming the longest-serving city council member. His decision not to seek re-election this year opened the seat up as six candidates vying for the position.
Martinez-Brooks, a lifelong Oklahoma City resident, currently serves as a volunteer and board member for several community organizations and committees. In 2018, she was appointed to the Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust by Mayor David Holt.
In her campaign, Martinez-Brooks emphasized her concern with issues such as public safety, transportation, economic growth, and transparency.
“No matter what happens, win or lose, I’m glad that I started this process because there’s just never been somebody who looked like me on council, ” Martinez-Brooks said in an interview with the Free Press.
If elected, Martinez-Brooks would become the first Latina on the Oklahoma City Council in the city’s history.
Young, a long time southwest OKC resident, said she will be a conservative voice of reason during her campaign. She currently serves on the board of the Oklahoma Women Run and the National Association of Women in Construction.
“From supporting law enforcement to fighting for infrastructure and investment in our part of Oklahoma City, to keeping taxes low and creating jobs for our families, I’ll champion our issues,” Young said in a press release Wednesday.
Councilwoman Nikki Nice was unopposed this election cycle and automatically wins reelection in Ward 7.
City council elections are nonpartisan and members serve four-year terms with no term limits.
Elected council members will assume office on April 13.
Election results are still subject to some changes and are not considered final until they’re certified by the appropriate election board. Election results will be certified by county election boards no earlier than Friday, Feb. 12, according to the State Election Board website.
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