From left: Democrat Christine Pellegrino and Republican Thomas Gargiulo.

Voters in New York State Assembly District Nine will cast their ballots this month in a special election to decide who will be their first new representative in more than a decade.

Democrat Christine Pellegrino is running against Republican Thomas Gargiulo for the seat recently vacated by former Assemblyman Joseph Saladino, who represented the U-shaped district that straddles the Nassau-Suffolk county line on the South Shore of Long Island for 13 years.

Pellegrino, a reading teacher at Brookside Elementary School in Baldwin, is running on a campaign of combating public corruption both locally and in Albany. She is also running on the Working Families Party line.

Gargiulo, a former special education teacher and high school basketball coach, lists his priorities as property tax relief and supporting legislation that cracks down on gangs as well as deporting illegal immigrants. He is also running on the Conservative and Independence party lines.

Both candidates are opposed to the controversial Common Core education standards and related standardized tests.

Political observers have characterized the special election as a referendum on the policies of President Donald Trump, with Democrats hoping Pellegrino can ride a wave of opposition to new administration into office and Republicans touting that Gargiulo’s positions are in line with the White House.

Saladino had represented the district from 2004 through January, when he was appointed to be the Town of Oyster Bay supervisor. He replaced John Venditto, who resigned in January after he pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges. Saladino plans to run to keep his new job as supervisor in the November elections.

The ninth Assembly district district includes South Farmingdale, Seaford, Massapequa, Babylon, West Babylon, West Islip, Brightwaters, the eastern half of Jones Beach Island and the western tip of Fire Island.

The special election for the ninth Assembly district will be held May 23. Polls are open 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. To find your polling place, visit suffolkvotes.com or nassaucountyny.gov

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Timothy Bolger is the Editor in Chief of the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.