NEW YORK – Democratic Congressman Max Rose may be losing his seat in New York’s 11th district, according to early votes tallied on Tuesday night.
Preliminary results, which only include in-person early voting and Election Day voting, give Republican State Assemblywoman and Staten Island native Nicole Malliotakis the lead with 58.3 percent, while Rose stands at 41.9 percent.
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The race is among the most highly contested in the country, with the 11th Congressional District historically a conservative bastion, covering Staten Island and South Brooklyn. In the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump received close to 60 percent of the islanders’ vote.
But Rose, a Jewish U.S. Army veteran, made headlines two years ago when he unseated Republican incumbent Dan Donovan.
The candidates were involved in a heated war of words for months with Rose slamming Malliotakis, 39, for “lying in Albany for a decade” and constantly “shifting her view.” The Republican candidate returned fire by calling Rose “cowardly.”
The Democratic candidate faced a tough challenge from Malliotakis, who attempted to link Rose to democratic socialists and especially to Mayor Bill de Blasio, who is very unpopular in the district. Though she lost the 2017 mayoral race against de Blasio, Malliotakis had garnered 70 percent of the vote in Staten Island.
Rose, however, prides himself on his willingness to criticize fellow Democrats as well as Republicans. He made significant efforts over recent months to distance himself from “the worst mayor in the history of New York City,” as he said in one of his campaign ads.
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Over his two years in office, Rose also proved a strong pro-Israel voice in Congress, another point differentiating him from his social democratic counterparts.
Israel’s former consul general, Dani Dayan, who calls Rose a personal friend, said he was “the kind of congressman Israel can rely on to maintain our bipartisan support.
“Pro-Israel issues are a primary focus of mine and Max has unequivocally supported every piece of legislation promoting the U.S.-Israel relationship,” Jack Ashkenazie, a community activist for Syria’s Jewish community in Brooklyn and a constituent of Rose's, had told Haaretz in an email back in September. “He clearly understands and unabashedly promotes the importance of this relationship with his colleagues in Congress,” he added.
Mail-in ballots, cast in record numbers this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, have until November 10 to arrive if postmarked by Election Day. It may take days before official results are announced.