STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. (PIX11) — PIX 11 has been traveling the tri-state looking at the closest Congressional races that will decide the balance of power in the House of Representatives come to Election Day.
Political reporter Henry Rosoff has traveled more than 600 miles to examine these races, but for his final report, he stayed in the city to highlight the battle for Staten Island and South Brooklyn.
The 11th Congressional District has gone back and forth for the last few election cycles between Democratic and Republican control. In 2022, a freshman Republican Congresswoman tries to hold on to her seat against the Democrat she beat two years ago.
PIX 11 caught up with Republican Congresswoman Nicole Malliotakis at a ribbon-cutting event for a new Hebrew School— and her Democratic opponent Max Rose at a press conference where he was taking Malliotakis to task for refusing to do more than one debate with him.
The two have been in a war of words since the 2020 election cycle when then-State Assemblywoman Malliotakis defeated then-Congressman Rose.
Rose, a pugnacious Army Officer, is making the case she betrayed the district from her first vote when she voted against certifying the results of the 2020 election– even after the January 6th insurrection.
“All just a curry favor with Donald Trump because she so desperately wanted his endorsement,” Rose said.
Malliotakis said she has some concerns about some election process issues but quickly adds the primary focus for her constituents is the economy.
“How they are going to put a roof over their head and feed their families, that is the number one issue— and it is something that Max Rose does not even want to talk about,” Malliotakis said.
Malliotakis is making that case to the voters of New York 11, including all Staten Island and South Brooklyn communities like Fort Hamilton, Dyker Heights and Bensonhurst.
She said she has tried to strike a balance as the only Republican representative from New York City. For example, voting in favor of the bipartisan infrastructure bill but pushing back on Democratic policies she said go too far.
“Like anti-police measures, ban on voter ID laws attempts to pack the Supreme Court, inflationary social spending that is just completely unsustainable,” she listed.
Rose views this race as being about two things: “freedom and security.”
Translation: guns and abortion access.
Rose points to votes by Malliotakis against an assault weapons ban and universal background checks contributing to crime.
“She’s fine with criminals and terrorists buying weapons,” Rose said.
Rose also went after Malliotakis for calling abortion access a “states’ rights issue.” Instead, he said those decisions should be left between a woman and her doctor.
“That means she is fine with states all across the Country instituting abortion bans, with no exceptions for rape or incest, and the consequences of that have been horrific,” Rose said. “Women are being forced to carry dead fetuses in the womb. Women are being denied chemotherapy. Women are fleeing their state after a rape.”
“I don’t appreciate him mansplaining on a very important women’s issue,” Malliotakis rebutted. “My position is that it should be limited, with exceptions for rape, incest and the life of the mother. Rose supports abortions up until birth unrestricted for any reason.”
The Cook Political Report has NY11 leaning toward Malliotakis after some back-and-forth during the redistricting process made this swing district slightly more friendly to Republicans.