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Tussle over nomination in 9th Assembly district

New York State Conservative Party chairman Michael Long said his party is backing Nassau contender Michael LiPetri to challenge first term Democratic Assemb. Christine Pellegrino for the 9th District seat straddling the Nassau-Suffolk border.

Long said the minor party interviewed LiPetri, a lawyer, and Suffolk contender Ed Wiggins and it was “not an easy decision. Both were well qualified,” although LiPetri had a “deeper sense of the issues and finances in the state,” Long said.

However, Babylon Republican Committee chairman Anthony Pancella called it “a Suffolk seat.” He’s backing Wiggins, who is well-known locally as a part-time aide to GOP State Sen. Phil Boyle. Wiggins retired recently as Babylon landfill manager.

LiPetri, 27, of South Farmingdale, is an associate with the Rivkin Radler law firm in Uniondale. He also has worked as an assistant New York City corporation counsel, defending police and firefighters against legal claims.

Republicans are looking to take back the seat from Pellegrino, who won an upset in a special election last spring in a district where the GOP has a nearly 12,000 voter edge over Democrats.

Pellegrino said she has worked hard to increase funding for schools and to protect Long Island water, and hopes voters will back her re-election.

Nassau Republicans did not make an endorsement in the 9th at their recent county convention; Suffolk Republicans will hold their county convention May 31.

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