Yusef Salaam as a teenager made headlines for being convicted of a crime he didn’t commit.

The Central Park Exonerated Five member now is in the headlines as the victorious Democratic nominee for City Council.

“Started from the bottom, now we here,” he said last week on primary night.

What You Need To Know

  • Frontrunners in close races on primary night kept their status after voters' second- and third-choices were considered

  • Exonerated Five member Yusef Salaam has 64% of the primary vote in Council District 9

  • Tony Avella appears set for rematch against Vickie Paladino while Kristy Marmorato clinches GOP and Conservative party lines against Marjorie Velázquez

Salaam came up just short of the 50% threshold to win the race after the first round of vote counting, but the ranked-choice voting tabulation widened his lead over state Assemblywoman Inez Dickens. He now has nearly 64% of the vote to her 36% after three rounds of ranked-choice tabulations.

“This is a victory for justice, dignity and decency for the Harlem community we love,” Salaam said in a statement, pledging, “We are going to have a New Harlem Renaissance.”

In a race that did not require the running of ranked-choice voting rounds, the city Board of Elections’ updated vote tally also cemented the end of an era for left-wing Democrat Charles Barron in East New York.

Community advocate Chris Banks currently has 51% of the vote and has unseated Barron.

“I think it was just a reminder that we wanted some change and we wanted to take the district in a different direction,” Banks said last week on NY1’s “Inside City Hall.”

In two other districts, the lineup appeared to be set for what are expected to be contentious general elections.

In northeast Queens, former City Council member and state Senator Tony Avella held his lead over former prosecutor Christopher Bae, though the margin shrunk after Democratic voters’ second and third choices were calculated. Avella has about 51% to Bae’s 49%.

“Experience matters, and I think that’s what the voters are going to say when they go to the polls,” he had told NY1 on the campaign trail.
Avella is poised for a rematch against incumbent Republican City Council member Vickie Paladino in November.

He targeted her in his statement Wednesday, saying she “lacks the decency to lead us through these troubling times.”

In the southeast Bronx, health care professional Kristy Marmorato declared victory in the Republican Party primary with 51.5% of the vote after three rounds of ranked-choice tabulations. She handily won the Conservative Party matchup last week.

On Wednesday, she listed “safe streets, good schools, low cost of living and high quality of life” as her priorities.

She predicted she could defeat Democratic incumbent City Council member Marjorie Velázquez in November by focusing on the same.

Wednesday’s vote count by the city Board of Elections also included absentee ballots received in the past week.