Democrat Christine Pellegrino defeated Republican Thomas Gargiulo in a special election Tuesday that decided the next representative in New York State Assembly District Nine, according to unofficial early election results.
Pellegrino won by a margin of 58 percent of the vote over Gargiulo, who got 42 percent, according to the Nassau and Suffolk county boards of elections. Out of nearly 10,000 votes cast, 5,590 were for Pellegrino and 4,059 went to Gargiulo, the returns show.
“Thank you to all the volunteers and supporters who worked so hard during my campaign,” Pellegrino said. “I look forward to representing the people of the Ninth Assembly District!”
The race was 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.
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 race was a face off against two first-time political candidates with backgrounds in education who both oppose to the controversial Common Core education standards and related standardized tests.
Pellegrino, a reading teacher at Brookside Elementary School in Baldwin whose campaign focused on combating public corruption, also ran on the Working Families Party line. Gargiulo, a former special education teacher and high school basketball coach who focused on tax cuts and immigration, also ran on the Conservative and Independence party lines.
Political observers have characterized the special election as a referendum on the policies of President Donald Trump and credited her win to a wave of opposition to new Republican administration.
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. Venditto is due back in Central Islip federal court Wednesday for a pre-trial hearing.