Gabriella Romero, a public defender who represents Albany's Center Square neighborhood on the city's common council, is the projected winner as she led a crowded field of Albany County Democrats in Tuesday's primary for the state Assembly's 109th District.

Romero jumped ahead early in a race that pitted a half-dozen elected officials from the Albany City Council and Albany County Legislature to become the party's expected nominee in November.

"I am so excited. I am so proud, and I cannot wait to take this to November," Romero told supporters late Tuesday as she declared victory. "We did it."

The 109th Assembly District seat opened up earlier this year when state Sen. Neil Breslin announced his retirement in the 46th Senate District, and Assemblymember Pat Fahy, who occupies the 109th seat, decided to run for the upper chamber seat. 

While six candidates sought the seat, three – Romero, Albany Common Council Majority Leader Ginnie Farrell, who received Fahy's endorsement, and Albany County Legislator Dustin Reidy – emerged as top choices in recent days. 

Early Wednesday, with 97% of the vote reporting, Romero led the pack with 30% of the vote, compared to Farrell's 21.3%; Reidy's 17.2%; Albany Common Councilmember Owusu Anane's 14.4%; Albany County Legislator Andrew Joyce's 9%; and Albany Councilmember Jack Flynn's 8%, according to Associated Press numbers.

Farrell conceded on Tuesday night.

Farrell is the majority leader of Albany's Common Council and works on environmental conservation bills in the state Assembly. She used to work in Fahy's office. She spoke to supporters on Tuesday night and thanked them.

Reidy, who has served as campaign manager for Rep. Paul Tonko, supported changing the state's Raise the Age policy and bail reform laws.

The district is made up of the city of Albany and surrounding towns of Slingerlands and New Scotland.

A few thousand people cast their votes early over the last few weeks. The contest was expected to come down to how progressives vote in what has been a tense election year, with voters concerned about affordability, immigration, public safety and the economy. 

Romero also has the support of the Working Families Party. 

Primaries in New York are closed, meaning only members of a political party can vote in a party's race.

There were just over 47,800 registered Democrats in the district at the end of February, compared to about 8,900 registered Republicans and 18,700 independent voters, according to the state Board of Elections. 

The party nominee will face Republican candidate Alicia Purdy, who unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Albany in 2021, in the Nov. 5 general election.