Leland Cheung, center, receives congratulations Thursday after the Election Commission announced results from the City Council race. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Leland Cheung, center, receives congratulations Thursday after the Election Commission announced results from the City Council race. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Leland Cheung, a 31-year-old graduate student, has been preliminarily elected to Cambridge’s City Council, pushing incumbent Larry Ward off the panel.

The results came after a two-day delay spawned by an incumbent’s write-in campaign and broken ballot scanners. Emotions were heightened by the long wait, during which many stood and watched the counting of auxiliary ballots — suspense made up of tedium.

With the announcement of the panel’s lineup, Cheung hugged, high-fived and shook the hands of many of those gathered, including other, reelected councillors.

Winning councillors — barring recounts brought on by close votes, 11 provisional votes and 12 overseas absentee ballots that will be looked at Nov. 13 — are: Henrietta Davis, Denise Simmons, Tim Toomey, Craig Kelley, David Maher, Ken Reeves, Sam Seidel and Majorie Decker, who failed to meet a filing deadline and subsequently spent some $57,000 on a write-in campaign.

Winning committee members are Richard Harding, Susan Tauber, Marc McGovern, Fred Fantini, Patty Nolan and Alice Turkel. Harding and Turkel are new to the committee; Joe Grassi lost his seat and Luc Shuster did not run.

A relieved and happy Cheung told a well-wisher “I never really thought past this point,” but in truth he did have a plan. He ran “to make City Hall more responsive to the people,” he said, and would spend the time until taking his seat “meeting as many people as I can so I can bring their ideas to life.”

For Cheung’s campaign manager, recent Tufts graduate Mike Sherry, it means he can finally sleep. He’s also looking forward to joining his next campaign — possibly that of U.S. Rep. Mike Capuano, D-Somerville, who is running to replace the late U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass. “I’m on the market,” he said, grinning.

The provisional and overseas ballots are not enough to bring about a recount for council, but observers were saying there was potential for a recount on the School Committee.