Former Councilman Jim Gennaro was poised to win his old Queens seat in a Tuesday special election that marked the first time the city has used ranked-choice voting.
With more than 95% of scanners in the low-turnout contest counted as of Tuesday night, he had about 60% of the ballot. The outcome of 2,039 ballots in early voting was unlikely to shift the outcome.
“I feel humbled that the early returns show that our campaign is likely to prevail in this election,” Gennaro said in a statement.
“I am of course compelled to respect the process of the counting of all the ballots,” he added. “I eagerly await those final results.”
He would need over 50% of the vote to win outright and avoid an instant runoff.
Under ranked-choice voting — introduced as an attempt to level the playing field between contenders — if no candidate wins outright, a process of elimination begins. The candidate with the fewest first-choice votes is discarded, and people who voted for him or her get their second choices counted instead. The process continues until someone gets more than 50% of the ballot.