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Long IslandPolitics

Conservatives pick Gargiulo for Assembly

Conservatives have put forward the name of Tom Gargiulo in the special election for the Ninth Assembly District seat recently vacated by new Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino.

Minor party officials are looking for Republicans to cross-endorse Gargiulo, 59, a retired BOCES teacher, who now works as a youth center monitor for Babylon Town and is a girls basketball coach for Wyandanch High school.

John Jay LaValle, Suffolk Republican chairman, said GOP officials have talked with Conservatives but have not made any decision on a cross-endorsement. They have to choose a candidate by March 16. Gargiulo’s name surfaced after Islip Town board member John Cochrane, who had expressed interest in the race, withdrew his name.

Democrats have named as their candidate Ben Lavender, 24, a CSEA Local 1000 union organizer from Massapequa in the heavily Republican district. However, Richard Schaffer, Suffolk Democratic chairman, said, “You can never tell what is going to happen in a special election.”

Michael Long, state Conservative chairman, said he plans to move forward with Gargiulo’s name with the state executive committee Monday night. Support of the state committee is needed because the district crosses county lines.

“We’re solidly behind him and we’re excited about the idea because we don’t have a Conservative in either the Assembly or Senate,” said Frank Tinari, Suffolk Conservative chairman.

Gargiulo also has the backing of the Independence Party for the Assembly special election.

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