Salaam’s win was a huge blow to Mayor Adams’ administration, since Salam beat out “two sitting state Assembly members, including Inez Dickens, who was backed by Mayor Eric Adams,” receiving over 50% of the vote share.
Adams has not endorsed anyone in other City Council races this year, which underscores “the importance of the uptown showdown,” especially considering this “neighborhood…previously had a long history of backing the political establishment.”
All eyes were following this high stakes race after incumbent Kristin Richardson Jordan suddenly announced that she wasn’t running for reelection last month.
Given that this district is largely Democratic, this primary win in the 9th District means that Salaam “is almost certain to win the seat in November’s general election.”
Salaam celebrated with a victory party at Harlem Tavern Tuesday night, telling supporters, “What has happened on this campaign has restored my faith in knowing that I was born for this…I am not a seasoned politician. So therefore this was not politics as usual.”
“This campaign has been about those who have been counted out, those who have been forgotten,” said Salaam during his victory speech. “I am here because, Harlem, you believed in me.”
“I was 15 years old when I was run over by the spiked wheels of justice. And here I am now taking that same platform and turn it in into a purpose, trying to take my pain and doing something about it,” Salaam added.
Salaam’s win was not without a high price—“[a]ccording to his latest finance disclosure, Salaam’s campaign shelled out more than $230,000 on getting him elected — more than any other candidate in this year’s Council elections.”
Salaam heavily relied on his past while campaigning. His story is well known, having spent seven years in prison before being “exonerated in the infamous 1989 Central Park jogger rape case.”
In 2002, after someone came forward confessing to the crime, verdicts for the five accused were vacated, and in 2014, New York City settled a civil lawsuit with them for $41 million. After Salaam was released, he became “an advocate for the wrongfully convicted.”