When public school teacher and Bernie Sanders delegate Christine Pellegrino entered the special election in this deep-red Long Island district, few insiders took her candidacy seriously. Donald Trump had just won the district with 60% of the vote and the vacating Republican incumbent had won re-election with 70%.
What We Do
With the Democratic Party effectively sitting the race out, we conducted a poll on behalf of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) to assess Pellegrino’s potential. We found the race was highly competitive, with a wide enthusiasm gap favoring Democrats and a receptiveness among many swing voters – particularly independents and Republican women – to Pellegrino’s profile and message. We persuaded NYSUT to go “all in” and seize a rare opportunity for Democrats to win a tough district. We worked with NYSUT and their consulting team to develop a persuasive message focused on cracking down on corruption in Albany and delivering on local priorities like public schools and infrastructure investment.
With NYSUT delivering most of the paid communication in the race for Pellegrino, she won a stunning 16-point victory over her Republican opponent – exactly the margin our poll had predicted and the largest red-to-blue swing of the Trump era to date. Pellegrino declared her win a “thunderbolt of Resistance” and the election outcome was widely reported by national press.