The Democratic Party's James To Kun-sun topped the race for the five "super seats," earning the "king of votes" title and landing squarely in the discussions for candidates for the next chief executive.
To garnered 316,468 votes in the district council (second) functional constituency race, which was open to the 3.2 million voters without a ballot in other functional constituencies.
Coming in second was Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong's Starry Lee Wai-king with 277,143 votes.
To, 49, was first elected as a legislator at age 28 in 1991 - the youngest in history.
Pundits are already saying he could run for chief executive in 2017, the year the central government promised that Hong Kong residents will be allowed to choose the chief executive.
Lee, a 38-year-old accountant, was first elected as a district councillor at 25. She first won a Legco seat in 2008.
To said he believed some voters who originally wanted to cast blank votes - as called for by radical democrats - changed their minds and instead made their ballots count.
"The election was a war on our core values," To said. "I hope the government will listen to Hong Kong people's calls for universal suffrage."
He denied having announced early on Sunday that he was in danger of losing, which some speculated led to voters of Albert Ho Chun-yan switching to him.
Ho, also of the Democratic Party, got 228,840 votes - just enough to squeeze past the DAB's Lau Kong-wah for the fifth and last seat.
Frederick Fung Kin-kee, the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood veteran who before the polls was believed to be hanging by a thread, came third with 262,172 votes. A loss would have put paid to the future of his party.
Federation of Trade Unions vice chairwoman Chan Yuen-han was fourth with 246,196 votes.
She had angrily dismissed rumors early on Sunday that she had already garnered enough votes to win, saying it was a ploy for late voters to help other candidates.
But Chan said she was not upset at the outcome.
"I won't criticize other political parties - we gain support with our values and beliefs," she said. "People lead their lives, but heaven watches."
Lee said she felt sad that her party mate Lau lost.
She said she was coming in fifth or sixth in early surveys and it was reasonable for her to make an emergency call for voters to back her.
"I discussed it with Lau Kong-wah before I announced so," she said.