Republicans Retake Congressional Seat in NYC’s Most Conservative District

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November 4, 2020

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Southern view of Manhattan from the top of the Empire State Building on Election Day. [Credit: Daniel Dwyer]

NEW YORK – After two candidates toting extensive political resumes set their sights on Congress, followed by a dog fight-style political campaign, one finally came out on top.

Republican Nicole Malliotakis won the congressional seat in New York State’s 11th Congressional District on Tuesday night, defeating Democratic incumbent Max Rose with over 57% percent of the vote. 

The district, which includes Staten Island and South Brooklyn, is historically conservative: Rose, who was elected in 2018, was only the second Democrat to represent it in the last 30 years. 

The Ads

By the end of this high-stakes campaign, things had turned quite hostile.

In one of Rose’s ads, participants called Malliotakis a “fraud” while accusing her of voting to “cut New York hospital funding by $400 million.” According to the New York Times, the funding cut was initially proposed by a panel conducted by Governor Andrew Cuomo. 

Rose also created a petition to name Malliotakis as Global Ambassador for Flip Flops, the joke being that she “flip flops” on so many issues, including mail-in voting.

For her part, the assemblywoman compared Rose to Mayor Bill de Blasio, who the former vehemently opposed in the past, calling him “radically liberal.” 

The Candidates

Max Rose

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Rose is no stranger to politics. While earning his bachelor’s in history at Wesleyan University, Rose interned with U.S. Sen. Cory Booker.

He joined the Army in 2010, serving as an active duty officer in Afghanistan in 2012 and later earning a Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and Combat Infantry Badge for his services.

After his military services, Rose returned to politics, becoming the Director of Public Engagement and Special Assistant to Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson, where he spent his time reforming relations between the community and law enforcement. In 2018, he ran for the 11th Congressional District and defeated five other candidates with 65% of the vote.

Some of the issues Rose supports include ending the drug epidemic, affordable healthcare, ending gun violence, counterterrorism and homeland security, and tax reform.

Nicole Malliotakis

Having already been class president during her senior year of high school, Malliotakis may have been destined for a career in politics. After earning her bachelor’s in communications from Seton Hall University and her master’s in business administration at Wagner College, the New York City-native began her political career as community liaison for former State Senator John Marchi (R) and former Gov. George Pataki (R).

Malliotakis was elected to the Assembly in 2010, defeating two-time incumbent Janele Hyer-Spencer (D). She is currently the first Hispanic Republican to be elected in the district and the only Republican female elected in New York City. In 2017, Malliotakis became well-known for being a mayoral nominee for New York against Bill de Blasio, gaining 67% of the vote in the 11th Congressional District.

According to her website, Malliotakis supports animal welfare, strengthening border security against illegal immigrants, protecting vital educational programs, and the president’s Tax Cuts and Job Act to name a few.

Money Matters

According to Open Secrets, as of October 14, Rose had raised over $8.3 million for his campaign and spent over $7.2 million. 

His top contributors include Goldman Sachs, who contributed $29,600, Democracy Engine, City of New York, United for A Strong America, and Paul Weiss, et al.

As for Malliotakis, the Republican candidate had raised a little over $3 million while spending $2.7 million on her campaign by Oct. 14.

Closing Thoughts

Malliotakis credited her win to the support of her community.

“The people of this community know me,” Malliotakis told CBS News. “[The Rose campaign] spent twenty million dollars on these smear tactics in an attempt to discredit me, but the people of this community know that I’m always there for them, fighting when they need me. Whether it’s against Mayor de Blasio on property taxes, whether it’s helping them recover and rebuild from Hurricane Sandy, whether it’s distributing supplies to our front line workers…they know that I’m there for them and that I will continue to fight for them as I always have.”

As of Tuesday night, Rose had not yet conceded the election, calling on the Board of Elections to “conduct a fair and transparent process.”

“I am not ignorant to the realities of the results that have already been turned in,” the incumbent said on Tuesday night to his supporters. “But, I do know that my opponent will join me in assuring that the Board of Elections must conduct a fair and transparent process that demonstrates the strength of our democracy rather than undermining it.”

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