Matt Hinkle, Thuan Nguyen, OKC Ward 5 runoff
Candidates Matt Hinkle and Thuan Nguyen advanced to the Tuesday, April 4, 2023, runoff for an open Ward 5 seat on the OKC City Council. (NonDoc)

Voters in Oklahoma City’s Ward 5 will decide their next City Council representative in an April 4 runoff after Matt Hinkle and Thuan Nguyen finished atop Tuesday’s primary results but failed to crack 50 percent.

Incumbent Ward 5 Councilman David Greenwell chose not to seek reelection after three terms in office, which created a four-way fight for the southwest OKC ward. Hinkle, Nguyen, Audra Beasley and Jeff Owen filed for the seat.

Turnout was low across Oklahoma City on Tuesday, with Valentine’s Day and blustery weather complicating the already obscure nature of municipal elections. With 30 of 30 precincts reporting just 3,191 total votes cast, Hinkle finished first with 40.39 percent and Nguyen was in second place with 34.82 percent. (Beasley and Owen each had about 12 percent support.)

Hinkle is a longtime employee of Tyler Media who serves on the OKC Planning Commission. Nguyen is an insurance agency owner who serves on the Urban Design Commission.

All election results listed on the Oklahoma State Election Board website are unofficial until they are certified by the board.

A heavily residential area, OKC Ward 5 covers a significant portion of the city’s southwest side. With Southwest 59th Street as its northern boundary and Interstate-44 as its western boundary, Ward 5 abuts Moore to the east and Newcastle on its southwest. It includes Westmoore High School and Earlywine Park, with some of the ward stretching south into Cleveland County

Hinkle, Nguyen expressed different perspectives on arena

The four Ward 5 candidates participated in a Feb. 2 debate hosted by NonDoc and sponsored by the Oklahoma chapter of the Urban Land Institute.

During the debate, Hinkle and Nguyen differed slightly in their response to a question about the proposed new basketball arena for the Oklahoma City Thunder. Asked whether the new arena’s funding source should be solely public money, solely private dollars or a mixture thereof, Hinkle said it was too soon to take a firm position because details have yet to be revealed.

“It’s an unfair question, because you don’t know what the deal looks like (and) who pays for what,” Hinkle said. “It can’t be all public money. It can’t be all private money. Maybe it’s some county money and state money and a little bit of everybody’s money. But as far as I’m concerned, the Thunder needs to stay as long as it’s feasible.”

Nguyen said a new arena probably should not be at the top of the agenda right now, and when it does happen it should not be completely financed by taxpayers.

“I feel that we need to win a national championship and fill our stadium a little bit more before we can think about that investment dollars — public money,” he said. “But I will agree with Matt (Hinkle) on that. It’s gonna need some public (money) but private investment as well. So there’s got to be some collaborations and partnerships.”