Incumbent U.S. Rep. Nicole Malliotakis and former congressmember Max Rose will once again face off to see who will represent New York City’s only swing district after each won their party’s congressional primary on Aug. 23.
“WE WON!! I am so grateful to have earned the support of the people of the 11th Congressional District once again,” Rose said on Twitter on Tuesday night. “If we are going to build a safe and affordable Staten Island and Brooklyn then we need to turn the page on the broken politics that brought us to this moment.”
Rose, a Democrat and former Army member, represented New York’s 11th Congressional District — which comprises parts of southern Brooklyn and Staten Island — from 2019 to 2021, but was defeated by Malliotakis, a Republican, by a slim margin in the 2020 election.
A former state Assemblymember and mayoral candidate with a wide base of support in Staten Island, Malliotakis has frequently stood with the party’s right wing, voting against certifying election results after the 2020 presidential election and criticizing the recent raid of former president Donald Trump’s Florida home.
“I want to thank my colleagues, I want to thank my staff and I want to thank my volunteers who really did an amazing thing tonight,” Malliotakis said in a speech at her campaign headquarters on Tuesday night. “They were able to drive out the vote in a primary where we won by a larger margin than we did two years ago. I humbly accept the nomination to be the Republican and Conservative candidate in this race.”
Redistricting and primary challengers
In a bid to make the district an easier win for Democrats, the state legislature attempted to dramatically shift the lines of NY-11 to encompass more progressive Brooklyn neighborhoods like Park Slope and Sunset Park.
But the proposed maps were widely criticized by members of the community, many of whom worried they would end up being represented by Malliotakis anyway, and were eventually deemed unconstitutional and thrown out. The replacement maps, drawn by an independent “special master,” left the demographics of NY-11 largely unchanged.
Even so, two other candidates joined Rose in the Democratic primary — veteran Brittany Ramos DeBarros and public school teacher Komi Agoda-Koussema. With 99% of votes counted as of Aug. 24, Rose swept the race, earning 74% of votes, while Ramos DeBarros and Agoda-Koussemma earned 20% and 4% of votes, respectively.
DeBarros called Rose to concede late on Tuesday night, she shared on Twitter.
“We built a powerful campaign centered on working people and their interests and I have so much gratitude and pride to have gotten as far as we have, and it’s clear to me that our next step is to do whatever it takes to flip NY-11 and oust Nicole Malliotakis,” she said.
John Matland, who challenged Malliotakis in the Republican primary, is a former healthcare worker who was fired because he did not comply with COVID-19 vaccine mandates, according to his website. Matland, who received 3,348 votes 21% of all votes cast in the primary, compared to Malliotakis’ 78% — pledged to secure the southern border, stop illegal immigration and curb government spending.
“It’s not the end… it’s just the beginning if need be,” Matland said on Twitter early on Wednesday morning. “What a trip! Nicole was super professional on our phone call. We will be speaking and meeting shortly. We The People are a force to be reckoned with. The movement grows regardless.”
With an eye toward the November general election, Rose said on Tuesday he wants to see a government that will work on improving the economy, take “weapons of war” off the streets, respect labor and hard work, and support the right to choose.
“[Malliotakis] abandoned that America when she voted against protecting a woman’s right to choose and access to contraception, against legislation that would stop oil companies from price gouging, and against universal background checks to help end gun violence,” Rose wrote.
Demographics and the general election
While the party demographics of NY-11 have shifted slightly as a result of redistricting, according to NYS Redistricting & You, it still leans Republican — Trump received almost 54% of votes in the 2020 presidential election, while President Joe Biden got 46.2%.
In her victory speech on Tuesday night, Malliotakis said her first term has been a “rollercoaster” and criticized the majority-Democratic government.
“There are those who are attempting to destroy the very fabric of our country, those who are attempting to dismantle the American dream, those who want to punish people who want to work hard and be independent and live in this great country on their own without the assistance of our government,” she said. “I’ve learned over the last few years that there’s an attempt by the left to tear down what America is, what makes it so special, and you see it in their policies each and every day.”
The two old political opponents will appear on the ballot on the Nov. 8 general election. Early voting will run from Oct. 26 through Nov. 9, and absentee ballots must be requested by Oct. 24.