Democrat takes 9th Assembly District in massive upset

Posted: Updated:

Christine Pellegrino may not be a household name, but she is making national headlines.

The teacher and political newcomer from West Islip became the first Democrat to be elected to the state's 9th Assembly District. The district spans the south shore of the Town of Oyster Bay and reaches as far east as West Bay Shore.

Pellegrino defeated Tom Gargiulo, a Conservative who was also backed by Republicans. News 12 reached out to the chairmen of the Nassau and Suffolk Republican committees for comment. Both declined interview requests.

Those on the political left are energized by Pellegrino's victory. Tom Perez, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, even tweeted a congratulatory message to Pellegrino. 

Lisa Tyson, of the Long Island Progressive Coalition, says the national interest in the local race is due to the beginning of an anti-President Trump, anti-Republican wave in upcoming elections. 

"This was not expected. Not only did she win, she won by a landslide in a district that doesn't happen in. If I were a Republican, I'd be worried," says Tyson. 

Some political analysts say while there are indications to suggest that Pellegrino's win may be a sign of what's to come, it's too early to jump to that conclusion just yet. 

"We don't know yet if we're facing a wave situation. We don't know if this a backlash against Donald Trump from his voters. We don't know if this is a positive reaction to a strong Democratic candidate or a backlash on a local level against Oyster Bay Republicans," says Hofstra University political analyst Larry Levy. 

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