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Politics

Rep. Max Rose Targets de Blasio while Running against Malliotakis

NEW YORK – As Rep. Max Rose is running for re-election in a conservative congressional district against New York State Assembly Member Nicole Malliotakis, one of his campaign ads just six seconds long included him saying, “Bill de Blasio is the worst mayor in the history of New York City,” the New York Times reported, adding “that’s the whole ad.”

First-term Congressman Rose, a Democrat, represents Staten Island and parts of South Brooklyn, and while he “is not running against Mayor de Blasio, his fellow Democrat,” he will need some support from Republicans in New York City’s most conservative congressional district in order to win the race, the Times reported. 

The race “is the Republican Party’s only realistic chance for gaining a House seat in New York City in November,” the Times reported, noting that Rose’s actual opponent, Republican Malliotakis had “challenged Mr. de Blasio unsuccessfully when he ran for re-election in 2017.”

Attacking the mayor is an obvious way to gain Republican support in the district where de Blasio is “deeply unpopular,” the Times reported.

In September, Rose released a slightly longer ad also attacking de Blasio and said in an interview, “Those ads were not a statement of opinion. Those ads were a statement of fact on de Blasio’s significant role in helping to drive the city into the gutter,” the Times reported.

Brooklyn-born, Staten Island resident Rose is a U.S. Army veteran who served in Afghanistan, and said “that he has had dust-ups with the mayor on everything from the de Blasio administration’s inadequate support of veterans to indoor dining, and that he planned to continue to challenge Mr. de Blasio over his constituents’ concerns,” the Times reported.

“It’s easy, when you’re a Republican, to criticize someone in charge,” Rose said, the Times reported, adding that “it’s hard to criticize someone in your own party.”

Though it should be noted that “in his successful 2018 run, when he beat the Republican incumbent, Daniel Donovan, Mr. Rose took shots at Mr. de Blasio, saying then that the mayor acted ‘like Staten Island doesn’t even exist,’” the Times reported. His “victory was widely seen as part of a congressional sea change of young, more liberal candidates that began to emerge with Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s stunning primary win earlier that year,” the Times reported.

Malliotakis “hopes to capture the votes of people who feel abandoned by the progressive politics of Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and other major Democratic leaders,” the Times reported.

She says that “she is running not just to represent her district, but to give New York City’s 500,000 registered Republicans a voice in Congress,” the Times reported.

Malliotakis said in an interview, “There needs to be a balance in the city, and I best represent that as one of the most vocal legislators who has put forward ideas and proposals to counter what they’re implementing,” the Times reported.

Malliotakis, of course, has also criticized Mayor de Blasio, “suggesting that if she were elected, she would try to use her position to make him more accountable for his actions,” the Times reported.

Attitudes towards President Trump may also affect the race. “When Ms. Malliotakis ran for mayor, she tried to distance herself from Mr. Trump, saying that she regretted voting for him,” the Times reported, adding that “she shows no such wariness now, championing the president’s policies and proudly boasting of his ‘complete and total endorsement.’”

Following Trump testing positive for COVID-19, Malliotakis “hosted a ‘get-well rally,’ where over 2,500 people, masked and unmasked, shouted ‘four more years’ and ‘U.S.A.,’” the Times reported.

When Trump “threatened in September to withhold federal aid to New York City because of civil unrest, Ms. Malliotakis applauded the plan, condemning the ‘radical far left policies’ of Mr. de Blasio’s administration,” the Times reported.

Rose criticized the president’s plan, issuing “a statement likening it to the mayor’s support for cutting the Police Department’s budget,” the Times reported, noting that Rose “has not been an ardent, or even consistent, critic of Mr. Trump, a rarity among Democrats,” and “he initially opposed an impeachment inquiry, saying he believed it would sow political discord.”

He “eventually voted to impeach the president, persuaded that Mr. Trump’s dealings with Ukraine were inappropriate,” the Times reported, adding that “in an interview with Politico in April, Mr. Rose said he wanted nothing more than to see the president succeed in beating the coronavirus crisis — even if it meant that he won a second term in the White House.”

Rose also opposes defunding the police and instead, “favors increasing funding for the police — the New York Police Department, he said, should be the best-paid force in America — while at the same time supporting criminal justice reforms like a federal ban on chokeholds.”

He said “his first-term accomplishments included working on the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, increasing federal funding for opioid treatment and securing money for a sea wall to protect Staten Island’s eastern shore from the kind of damage that Hurricane Sandy caused,” the Times reported, adding that “if re-elected, Mr. Rose said he hoped to increase the number of union jobs in New York, to lead congressional efforts on counterterrorism and to improve the city’s infrastructure.”

The district “has slightly more registered Democrats than Republicans, but the difference — only about 80,000 people — is marginal compared with the rest of the city,” the Times reported, adding that it “has also traditionally voted Republican: Mr. Rose is only the second Democrat to hold the seat in 30 years.”

During her mayoral campaign, Malliotakis “won just 27.8 percent of the vote” but, “she won 70 percent on Staten Island, where she was born and which is largely Republican,” the Times reported, noting that she “hopes to see that same support in November, though it seems likely that the president’s endorsement will scare off Democratic voters.”

“The constituency votes for the person and not the party,” Malliotakis told the Times, “I’m comfortable that the majority of this community know me, they know my work, and they will vote for me, irrespective of who else they may be voting for that year.”

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