Yusef Salaam, one of five black and Latino men whose convictions were overturned in the 1989 rape and assault of a female jogger in Central Park, cemented his victory in a hotly contested City Council race in Harlem, according to The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Mr Salaam, 49, had a commanding lead on Election Day, with more than double the number of votes over his nearest rival, Inez Dickens, a state assemblywoman. The New York Board of Elections began tabulating ranked ballots on Wednesday, and the new one ranking selection tabulation now shows Mr. Salaam with almost 64 percent of the votes to Mrs. Dickens’ 36 percent.
“This is a victory for justice, dignity and decency for the Harlem community we love,” Mr. Salaam said in a statement. “It’s a victory in support of not turning our backs on those in need, to say that we are our brothers and sisters’ keepers and to say that the only way for all of us to thrive is to believe in the promise that we all have.”
In addition to Ms. Dickens, Mr. Salaam defeated another sitting member of the Assembly, Al Taylor, who is serving his sixth year in the Legislature. Mr Salaam is not expected to face a serious challenger, if any, in November.
He will succeed Kristin Richardson Jordan, a democratic socialist who was one of the most left-wing members of the City Council. She left the primary in May, but her name still remained on the ballot and she will finish her term.
All three candidates were moderates who sought to distance themselves from Ms. Jordan’s left-wing views on issues such as policing. Mr. Salaam cast the election as an opportunity for generational change in Harlem, which was once the center of Black political power in New York but has ceded that title to Brooklyn.
During the race, Mr. Salaam often spoke about his conviction, exoneration and persecution of former President Donald J. Trump, who in 1989 took out full-page ads in The New York Times and other newspapers calling for the death penalty in the Central Park jogger. case
“Many doubted us along the way, but this was a campaign based on change, and the voters overwhelmingly agreed with our vision for a better, stronger and more tolerant community,” said Mr Salaam.