Democrats Win Two NY Legislative Seats In Special Election

NEW YORK (AP) -

A Democratic candidate for New York’s state Assembly defeated her Republican opponent Tuesday night to represent a Long Island district. Christine Pellegrino won 58 percent of the vote to defeat conservative Tom Gargiulo.

Pellegrino, a teacher active in the anti-Common Core movement, was backed by the teachers’ union and had strong support from the Democratic and Working Families Party. She will replace former Republican Joseph Saladino, who’s now town supervisor in Oyster Bay.

“It’s a district that’s strongly Republican and the fact that the Democrats picked up that seat says something,” said Siena College pollster Steve Greenberg.

In Harlem, Democratic real estate developer Brian Benjamin easily won a state Senate seat that became vacant when Bill Perkins was elected to the New York City Council. He had run against Reform Party candidate Ruben Vargas, Republican Dawn Simmons and write-in candidate Joyce Johnson.

Democrats hold a commanding majority in New York’s state Assembly and, thanks to Benjamin’s win, have a one-seat majority in the state Senate. Republicans remain in control, however, with the support of the eight-member Independent Democratic Conference.