Ron Kim fought off four other competitors in a tight primary race to secure the Democratic nod in the 40th Assembly District.
Kim collected 27 percent of the 4,182 ballots cast; just 162 votes ahead of second place finisher Yen Chou and 204 more than third place Ethel Chen, according to unofficial results.
Myungsuk Lee finished in fourth, followed by Martha Flores-Vazquez.
“I knew it was going to be tight, so I didn’t want to be watching television all night,” Kim said of the election.
Instead, he closed himself off in a room to write a thank you speech, regardless of the outcome.
“I felt very proud of the race that we ran,” he said.
Finally, at approximately 10:45 p.m. he received a congratulatory call from Chou.
The Queens Democratic Party-backed Kim will now face off against Phil Gim in the general election. Gim bested Sunny Hahn in the September 13 Republican primary by a 74 to 26 percent margin.
“It’s a first step toward a much tougher election,” Gim said late Thursday night.
The lead fluctuated throughout the night between the candidates in the hotly-contested Democratic primary battle for Assemblymember Grace Meng’s seat — who is running for Congress.
Meng did not endorse a candidate for her seat, though she did offer Kim words of support after his victory.
“Congratulations to Ron Kim on a historic, hard-earned and well-deserved victory. Ron’s vast government experience and dedication to public service will well serve the constituents of the 40th Assembly District,” Meng said in a statement. “I look forward to helping Ron win in November and working alongside him in the years to come.”
Though hard fought, the race only brought out approximately 16 percent of registered Democratic voters in the district.
Approximately 400 residents cast votes in the Republican race, 7 percent of the eligible field.
The winners will meet in the November 6 general election.
“I’m confident that as long as I continue to do the campaign that I’ve been doing, we’ll come out on top,” said Kim.
Gim, happy one campaign is behind, said he’s prepared for November.
“We’re ready for the next challenge,” Gim said. “We will put up a very good election fight.”