Republican Nicole Malliotakis has declared victory over Democratic incumbent Max Rose in the contentious congressional race in Staten Island and southern Brooklyn’s 11th District.
Malliotakis won just over 58 percent of in-person votes (127,213) in the swing district on Tuesday night, according to the Board of Elections’ unofficial election night results. Rose collected approximately 41 percent of in-person votes (90,560).
Malliotakis declared victory shortly after 10 pm Tuesday with a margin of about 36,000 votes — and little to no way of Rose catching up regardless of the close to 40,000 absentee ballots in the air.
But, from outside of LiGreci’s Staaten on Forest Avenue, Rose did not concede.
“We came in tonight saying we may not know a winner at the end of this evening and that is still the case. At this moment there are more than 40,000 absentee ballots that were returned, with potentially 10,000 more in the mail,” Rose said in his remarks. “As a soldier who fought for our democracy. I believe every vote must be counted. I know my opponent will join me in ensuring that the Board of Elections must conduct a fair and transparent process that demonstrates the strength of our democracy, not undermines it. While we wait for the official results to be declared, I want to assure the people of Staten Island and Brooklyn that our work will continue.”
Meanwhile, from a tent behind her Staten Island headquarters, the five-term assemblywoman said her victory would “resonate from New York’s City Hall to the halls of Congress” and slammed the city and state’s Democratic leaders for underestimating and misunderstanding the district.
The heated race for the 11th congressional district was among the most-watched in the country, as freshman Rose, a Democrat, fought to hold onto his post in a district that voted overwhelmingly for President Donald Trump in 2016.
Staten Island Republican County Chairman Brendan Lantry said there were many reasons for what he called “a resounding victory.”
“Staten Island is a Republican borough, 2018 was an anomaly, and this is a terrific win for the people of Staten Island,” Lantry said. “The President is doing overwhelmingly well, Nicole is doing well, all our Republican candidates showed incredibly strong numbers here in Staten Island – I think it’s law and order, I think it’s public safety – it’s city and state government that are becoming socialist and for the people of Staten Island – they rejected that.”
Malliotakis credited support from almost every major police union for helping put her over the top. Many of the unions rejected the Democratic cause after months of protests against police, criminal justice reform they blame for rising crime, and defunding of the NYPD in the midst of rising violent crime city-wide.
While some people worried that Malliotakis would be in a tight race that might be too close to call, two people who had the most confidence in Malliotakis were her parents, George and Vera Malliotakis, both Greek immigrants who stood proudly nearby watching their daughter capture the victory.
“It was a beautiful night and we had all the confidence in her – I’m very proud of her – what ever I am today is because of her and that’s the best there is,” her father beamed.
A Staten Island native, Malliotakis was first elected to the state assembly in 2010 to represent East New York and New Lots. Since 2012, she has served as assemblywoman in the 64th District covering northeast Staten Island and a sliver of Bay Ridge. Malliotakis ran against Mayor Bill de Blasio on the Republican ticket during his reelection campaign in 2017.
In a recent interview with Brooklyn Paper, Malliotakis said that some of her proudest achievements include the restoration of local and express bus service in southern Brooklyn and Staten Island, her successful efforts to strip pensions from elected officials who were convicted of crimes, and her work to help the district recover and rebuild after Superstorm Sandy.
Rose, a Park Slope native, served in the armed forces for five years and earned a Purple Heart in the War in Afghanistan after his vehicle hit an improvised explosive device, injuring him. He served in New York’s National Guard before successfully running for congress in 2018, narrowly beating Republican incumbent Dan Donovan.
Rose said that in his two years in office, he’s most proud of a bill he co-sponsored that would permanently renew funding to the Victim’s Compensation Fund, which provides aid to victims of the 9/11 attacks. He also touted his bill that puts sanctions on foreign pharmaceutical companies that produce the majority of the country’s illicit fentanyl, and his efforts to mitigate COVID-19 in his district, which saw the first COVID-19 testing site in the city and a COVID-19 treatment center he helped build.
During her campaign, Malliotakis boasted endorsements from law enforcement groups like the Police Benevolent Association, the Detectives Endowment Association, and the Sergeants Benevolent Association. She was also backed by the New York Post, the League of Humane Voters and New York State Patriots for Life, among other groups.
This story first appeared on our sister publication brooklynpaper.com.