Jermaine Jones, a longtime labor leader who launched an unlikely campaign to unseat Robert Stokes Sr. in Baltimore City Council’s 12th District, has clinched the Democratic nomination with all votes counted Friday.

Jones’ win signifies a major triumph for organized labor and community advocacy groups, which spent big in the race’s final weeks to get him elected. It also marks a personal win for Jones, 39, who ran previously for a council seat in 2016 but came up short to City Councilman Ryan Dorsey, who easily won his own reelection bid in the 3rd District this year.

Jones said Stokes, a two-term councilman who has worked in East Baltimore politics for decades, conceded the race Friday night. Stokes has not responded to multiple requests for comment about the race.

In a late Friday night statement posted on social media, Jones thanked Stokes for his years of dedication and service to the city.

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“Now, the real work begins,” Jones said. “It’s time to give our kids safe places to go, jobs they can build a future with, and a vision they can believe in.”

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Baltimore’s board of elections was scheduled to certify the results of the primary on Friday, but deputy elections administrator Abigail Goldman said officials now plan to hold off on certification until Tuesday morning because they had yet to complete legally required audits. All ballots, however, had been counted by the end of the day, Goldman said.

Ultimately, Jones won the bid by fewer than 400 votes. He said earlier this month that he had hoped to challenge Stokes in a head-to-head competition to ensure he could earn as many votes as possible against the veteran politico. Stokes, 66, has previously staved off tough challenges from other progressive candidates, including in 2020, when he survived a crowded primary election as well as an unusually competitive general election challenge from a Green Party contestant.

Jones said Friday, after the final votes were counted, he was “for the most part” ready to declare victory. The former president of the Metropolitan Baltimore AFL-CIO unions, Jones said he was encouraged by the reception that his labor background found on the campaign trail.

“I felt like when I got into the race, voters were looking for change, looking for alternative,” he said. “I’m happy to provide that.”

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Now the political engagement director for the union LiUNA Local 710, Jones is among a wave of young candidates who have eked out Democratic nominations for the City Council this week.

On Thursday, City Councilman Eric Costello, a 10-year veteran lawmaker with enormous sway in Baltimore, conceded his race to political newcomer Zac Blanchard, a former Marine, high school football coach and South Baltimore community association leader. The 31-year-old Blanchard held a razor-thin 43-vote lead over Costello when the incumbent council member accepted defeat on Thursday.

In West Baltimore’s 8th District, Paris Gray declared victory Thursday over a crowded primary field that included former state Del. Bilal Ali. An executive for the Columbia-based behavioral health provider Clinic Management and Development Services, Ali trailed at the end of counting Friday by 236 votes and did not concede Thursday.

Officials initially over-reported more than 500 votes in the city and Ali said there were “too many mishaps” in this election for him to make a “premature concession.”

Gray is a community liaison for outgoing City Councilman Kristerfer Burnett and is running to replace his boss, who backed him and plans to step down.

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Jones, who parked himself in the city elections warehouse this week to watch many of the votes get tallied, said the experience has ignited an interest in refining Baltimore’s electoral process. After observing the conditions for canvassers at the West Baltimore warehouse and the board’s records management in the wake of election day, Jones said the process needs some “cleaning up” — his first priority, he said, when he gets to City Hall.

Baltimore’s 12th District covers a large swath of East and Central Baltimore, including parts of Remington, Greenmount West and Johnston Square. The district’s borders expanded under this year’s redistricting process to include the upscale Harbor East and Little Italy.

Stokes welcomed those downtown gains at the time. In the end, Jones’ challenge proved too much, though, and the East Baltimore stalwart was unable to hold down his redrawn district.

Pulling off the upset, Jones said, wasn’t about “making loud noises and sounds” to draw attention to his campaign. It was about knocking on doors and letting constituents across the district know that he’d be there to respond to their needs, he said. “That’s what it boils down to.”

If any candidates want to call for a recount in their race, they must file a petition by next Friday, three days after certification.

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This article has been updated to correct a photo caption that misidentified Jermaine Jones.