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Democrat Christine Pellegrino photos

Christine Pellegrino was a last-minute candidate for Democrats in the special election for the 9th District Assembly seat, which she won in an upset victory against Conservative Tom Gargiulo on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.

Pellegrino, 48, is a Baldwin teacher who lives in West Islip and has been active in the anti-Common Core “opt out” movement. She won with 58 percent of the vote and is the first Democrat to ever hold the seat.

The 9th District includes Massapequa, West Babylon, Babylon Village, West Islip and West Bay Shore, and it has 39,443 registered Republicans, 27,673 Democrats, 1,854 Conservatives and 25,895 voters not aligned with any party, records show.

The win will have little bearing on the makeup of the Assembly, where Democrats hold a comfortable majority, but progressive leaders believed it was a harbinger of a Democratic wave.

Chrisine Pellegrino, Democratic nominee, is facing a special
Photo Credit: Pellegrino for Assembly

Democrat Chrisine Pellegrino won a seat in the 9th Assembly District in a special election on Tuesday, May 23, 2017. She ran as a progressive and union-backed candidate and pulled off an upset victory for the heavily Republican seat. 

Democrat Christine Pellegrino, left, is running against Conservative
Photo Credit: Newsday/Tom Ferrara; Uli Seit

Democrat Christine Pellegrino ran against Conservative Tom Gargiulo, 59, a retired BOCES special education teacher from Babylon, for the 9th District Assembly seat vacated by Joseph Saladino, who resigned in January to be appointed supervisor of the Town of Oyster Bay.

Democrat Christine Pellegrino, of West Islip, a teacher
Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

Democrat Christine Pellegrino, 48, a Baldwin teacher from West Islip, speaks with Mary Brodersen of West Babylon while campaigning outside of West Babylon Senior High School on Tuesday, May 16, 2017.

The state teachers union funneled $200,000 to a committee backing Pellegrino, who has been active in the anti-Common Core “opt out” movement. She also served as a Democratic National Convention delegate for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Democrat Christine Pellegrino, of West Islip, a teacher
Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

While Republicans hold a 13-point registration advantage in the district, progressive activists hoped to capitalize on opposition to Trump by turning out motivated Democrats in the election, Long Island’s first since November.

The win will have little bearing on the makeup of the Assembly, where Democrats hold a comfortable majority, but progressive leaders believed it was a harbinger of a Democratic wave.

Above, Democrat Christine Pellegrino speaks with Carol Alexiadis of Babylon while campaigning outside of West Babylon Senior High School on Tuesday, May 16, 2017.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, NYS Assembly Candidate
Photo Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

Typically, Democrats would hardly compete in the 9th, a horseshoe-shaped district on the Nassau-Suffolk county line that includes Massapequa, West Babylon, Babylon Village, West Islip and West Bay Shore.

But Democrats say that in a low-turnout special election with progressives and union members galvanized by opposition to Trump, they had hope.

Teachers for Christine, formed by the New York State United Teachers, spent $145,000 from May 10 to 17.

Democrat Christine Pellegrino celebrates after declaring victory in
Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Democrat Christine Pellegrino celebrates at a gathering in Massapequa Park after declaring victory in the 9th Assembly District special election on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.

Democrat Christine Pellegrino is emotional as she hugs
Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Democrat Christine Pellegrino hugs Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone at a gathering in Massapequa Park after declaring victory in the 9th Assembly District special election on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.

Bellone had campaigned for Pellegrino, contributing the maximum of $4,400 to her campaign and knocking on doors for her. Suffolk Democratic Chairman Richard Schaffer, who is courting Conservative support in other races, stayed neutral in the race because of a past contribution from NYSUT to a Democratic state Senate candidate that he said is under investigation.

Democrat Christine Pellegrino celebrates after declaring victory in
Photo Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

Democrat Christine Pellegrino celebrates at a gathering in Massapequa Park after declaring victory in 9th Assembly District special election on Tuesday, May 23, 2017.

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