GOP’s Nicole Malliotakis declares victory in NY over Rep. Max Rose

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It was a Staten Island stunner.

Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis appears to have dispatched incumbent Democratic Rep. Max Rose from Congress, taking a dramatic but early 16 point lead that ended a bitter multimillion-dollar contest between them.

Malliotakis won 58 percent of the ballots cast during early voting and on Election Day, while Rose netted just 42 percent, according to tallies from 98 percent of precincts.

Malliotakis declared victory in a speech to supporters late Tuesday.

“This race was about the brave men and women of the NYPD and all our law enforcement and first responders,” she said, thanking the police unions for early endorsements in the race. “This is one elected official who will always have their back.”

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Malliotakis also thanked Trump for his support, which helped her, observers said.

Election results from the BOE show that the president outpaced his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, by roughly 40,000 votes on Staten Island.

Rose faces a steep hill to climb thanks to that 37,000 vote gap, but a significant pool of votes remains.

The Board of Elections mailed out absentee ballots to 77,147 people in the district — including 45,226 to registered Democrats.

Tallies from the agency showed that slightly more than half of the absentee ballots, 41,663, have been mailed back.

Malliotakis’ strong showing surprised even veteran Staten Island political observers, who attributed it in part to President Trump’s showing among voters in the city’s most conservative borough.

“It’s done. It’s over,” said the seat’s former congressman, Vito Fossella, a longtime hand in GOP politics.

For his part, Rose did not concede defeat during an emotional speech that he delivered after Malliotakis spoke — arguing that every vote needed to be counted first.

Instead, he used the opportunity to fire back at critics of his decision to march with civil rights activists and Black Lives Matter protestors in the aftermath of George Floyd’s brutal in-custody police death in Minnesota.

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“Black parents worry a chance encounter could end with their baby boy or girl never coming home,” he said. “The wife or husband of a police officer feels their heart leave their chest every time a tour starts, scared the love of their life may never walk back through the door.”

“Only in our broken politics, would it be controversial to believe both are legitimate fears,” he added. “Young Staten Islanders marched to express their pain. And for that, they were called rioters and thugs on national television.”

The speeches from both provided a coda to the final and brutal weeks of campaigning between the two, which featured blistering attacks over the civil rights and police reform protests — some of which were violent — that roiled New York during the summer.

Malliotakis charged that Rose failed to provide enough support to the NYPD in the first-responder heavy district, leaning heavily into the “law and order” arguments made nationally by Trump.

The dynamics of New York’s 11th Congressional District explain why. The first-responder heavy district is the only one in New York City that Trump won in 2016, as he carried Staten Island with 55.6 percent of the vote.

In the closing weeks, Rose fired back at Malliotakis, describing her as an opportunist and claiming she profited off of the opioid crisis on the island.

And he doubled down on his efforts to separate himself from the rest of the Democratic Party, including regularly lobbing attacks at Mayor Bill de Blasio, who he called the “worst” executive in Gotham’s history.

The back-and-forth culminated in a contentious televised debate on New York 1, in which moderator Errol Louis was forced at one point to mute Malliotakis’s microphone.

All the while, more than $30 million flooded into the district to pay for advertising and campaigning in the hyper-expensive New York market.

Rose’s campaign raised more than $8 million and Malliotakis’ netted $3 million, according to the most recent FEC filings analyzed by the Center for Responsive Politics. The good government group also tracked another $18 million in spending by outside groups on the race.

The race was always expected to be close.

A recent WNBC-Channel 4/Marist poll suggested that Trump remains popular in the 11th, leading his Democratic Party opponent, Joe Biden, by 7 percentage points.

However, the survey also showed Rose doing better than Biden, polling just two points behind Malliotakis and well within its 4.7 percentage point margin of error.

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