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5 takeaways from Tuesday's Oklahoma City Council primary elections

Runoffs for two city council seats representing Oklahoma City's far western border are set for April 6. A candidate needed 50% plus one to win outright in Tuesday's primaries, but no hopeful in Ward 1 or Ward 3 exceeded 30%.

Here are five takeaways from Tuesday night's results:

A significant evening for women

In southwest Oklahoma City's Ward 3, Jessica Martinez-Brooks and Barbara Young advanced to the runoff. That means a third woman will join the nine-member council, marking the first time three women have served together in 20 years, said City Clerk Frances Kersey. For most of the past decade, there was just one woman on the council. According to records dating to 1927, Ward 3 has never been represented by a woman.

Progressives gained little traction

Megan Scott led the nine-way race in Ward 1 after absentee and early votes were counted but finished fifth. In Ward 4, Sam Wargin Grimaldo, a 33-year-old law student, trailed among absentee, early and day-of voters, finishing with 25.7%, as incumbent Todd Stone was re-elected. One political strategist tweeted that the election was "a continuation of November with hardly any motivation for those outside the fringes to show up."

Starting early produced mixed results

Jessica Martinez-Brooks, Oklahoma City Water Utilities Trust vice chair, announced plans a year ago to run in Ward 3. She led the primary but with less than 30%. Jay Sherrill, who is on the Putnam City school board, announced his race for the Ward 1 seat in May. He finished fourth. Bradley Carter, who finished first in Ward 1, registered his campaign committee just three weeks before the election, on Jan. 15, although he dated the document Dec. 1.

Police union spending will be telling

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 123 largely sat out the primaries, endorsing only incumbent Todd Stone in Ward 4. Whether and how members decide to donate in the Ward 1 and Ward 3 runoffs will be closely watched. All four remaining candidates distanced themselves from "defund police" critics. Prosecutors' ongoing review of a Nov. 23 police shooting could become an issue. The union meets in early March, said John George, Lodge 123 president.

Did the SD22 election affect the Ward 1 vote?

Political strategist Pat McFerron says Senate District 22, which also had a primary Tuesday, overlaps with about 16% of Ward 1 voters. The overlapping precincts "over-performed" in the city council primary, he said. Turnout across Ward 1 was 11.3% — 3,883 of 34,286 eligible voters. Fifty-five percent of the votes cast in the Ward 1 race went to candidates who did not make the April 6 runoff. Turnout in the Ward 3 primary was 13.5%.

William Crum

OU and Norman High School graduate, formerly worked as a reporter and editor for the Associated Press, the Star Tribune in Minneapolis, and the Norman Transcript. Married, two children, lives in Norman. Read more ›