Edmond lodging tax increase
The Edmond Hilton Garden Inn is located at 2833 Conference Drive in Edmond, Oklahoma. (Michael McNutt)

When Oklahoma’s primary election concluded this evening, Edmond voters increased the city’s lodging tax from 4 percent to 6 percent, reelected Rep. Preston Stinson and sent the Senate District 47 Republican primary to an August runoff.

After no Republican candidate received more than 50 percent of vote in SD 47, Kelly Hines and Jenny Schmitt will face off in the Aug. 27 runoff election to decide who will be the GOP candidate in the November general election.

Hines received 37.5 percent of the vote while Schmitt received 31.4 percent of the vote — an 11 vote difference that could spur a formal recount effort.

The Edmond lodging tax increase passed with 62.7 percent of the 7,086 ballots cast, while Stinson (R-Edmond) won reelection with 58.7 percent of the 2,574 votes cast in House District 96.

All June 18 election results are unofficial until they are certified by the Oklahoma State Election Board.

Edmond lodging tax increase passes easily

The ballot question to increase Edmond’s lodging tax passed with 4,444 votes, a fraction of the roughly 12,500 residents who voted in the 2023 mayoral contest. The measure permanently raises the city’s 4 percent tax to 6 percent on all overnight stays at any hotel, Airbnb or bed and breakfast. The increase has been estimated to add an annual $350,000 to Visit Edmond’s budget, according to director Jennifer Thornton.

The increased revenue from the lodging tax will be put toward Edmond’s tourism efforts, and the proposal was written in a way that avoided the city having to backfill additional police and fire department funding owing to an unusual city ordinance.

Rep. Preston Stinson reelected in HD 96

Incumbent Rep. Preston Stinson (R-Edmond) of House District 96 was first elected to HD 96 in 2020, beating Margaret Best in a Republican runoff. He ran unopposed for his second term in 2022. Now, Stinson has been elected to a third term after defeating Steve Herburger, the owner and CEO of 2 Fellas Moving Company.

Stinson is married to Oklahoma County District Judge Sheila Stinson, who was also first appointed to her position in 2020.

Hines, Schmitt head to Senate District 47 runoff election

The Senate District 47 GOP primary election came down to the wire to see who would make the runoff. As votes rolled in, candidates Aaron Curry and Jenny Schmitt stayed neck and neck in a battle for second place, until Schmitt narrowly beat Curry by only 11 votes. Schmitt finished with 31.4 percent of the vote, surpassing Curry’s 31.1 percent. Now Schmitt will face Hines — who finished with 37.5 percent support — in the Aug. 27 runoff election. A total of 5,036 ballots were cast in the GOP primary.

Schmitt, who has worked as a nurse anesthetist for 20 years in Oklahoma City, said during the campaign that she would fill the State Senate’s health care “gap” if elected. Hines, a 34-year military veteran from Whitesboro in eastern Oklahoma, said he spent 28 years in Army aviation and was motivated to run because of “the American dream.”

The winner of the Aug. 27 runoff election deciding the Republican nomination will face Democrat Erin Brewer, the owner of RedPin Bowling Lounge in Bricktown. On her campaign website, Brewer describes herself as someone with “strong community ties” and says she will focus on issues concerning public schools, the economy, health care and government accountability.