Democratic hopeful Max Rose has conceded to Republican incumbent Nicole Malliotakis in the contentious congressional race in NY-11, New York City’s only swing district. With 90% of the vote counted as of 9:50 p.m., Malliotakis has scooped up more than 62% of votes compared to Rose’s 36%, according to unofficial Board of Elections results.
“While tonight’s outcome is certainly not what we hoped for in this party and as proud Americans, we respect the outcomes of elections,” Rose said at his election night watch party on Staten Island after he called Malliotakis to concede.
Malliotakis formally declared victory shortly after 10 p.m.
The freshman congressmember faced a challenge from Democrat Max Rose, who represented the district — which includes parts of Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Dyker Heights, and all of Staten Island — for one term before being defeated by Malliotakis in 2020. A former state assemblymember, Malliotakis is one of the state’s most conservative representatives and earned the endorsement of former president Donald Trump in this year’s race.
“Nicole is going to Washington and will show Nancy Pelosi the door,” said Staten Island state Senator Andrew Lanza at Malliotakis’ election night watch party. “She’ll take the gavel from Schiff and tell the Squad, ‘No more will you squash freedom.'”
Rose announced his candidacy late last year, and, in February, briefly seemed likely to win when the state legislature released draft redistricting maps that drew parts of progressive Sunset Park and Park Slope into NY-11 with the aim of making the district a Democratic slam-dunk. But those maps were later tossed by a state appellate court, who ruled them unconstitutional and appointed an independent “Special Master” to redraw district lines.
The final maps much more closely resembled the original district lines, seemingly giving Malliotakis a leg up — but Rose was undeterred. A swing district, after all, does just that — swings between parties. But, with a large Republican base, especially in Staten Island, it appears Malliotakis was able to secure a ride back to Washington on Tuesday evening.
“There’s a lot of fear and concern about the future of our city, our state, our entire country,” Rose said in a speech to supporters. “And it makes these elections that we have feel like they are life and death, and in many instances they are, with our rights, our wellbeing, the very essence of our democracy at risk. So when we fall short, I really do understand how it’s not only heartbreaking, but it’s absolutely frightening. But this is not the time to give up or to back down.”
During her victory speech, Malliotakis credited the support she’d received this election to “the policies of our president.”
“That’s what this campaign was about: stopping disastrous policies from a one-party rule on the state and federal level,” she said at her election night watch party on Staten Island. “We need to get this country back on track.”
On Election Day, NY-11 voters told Brooklyn Paper they were most concerned about crime in the nabe — one voter, Jackie, who asked to be identified only by her first name, said she used to vote Democrat but switched this year, casting her ballot for Malliotakis and Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin.
“If we don’t take our country, our young people will suffer,” said Adelaide Laurie, a native Staten Islander in attendance at Malliotakis’ watch-turned-victory party. “We need more people like Malliotakis and Zeldin. Our beautiful city has turned into the crime capital of the world. It’s not just Staten Island, New York in general thinks so. We’ve had enough.”
Frank Thurlow, a retired firefighter turned Bay Ridge campaign volunteer, said “the crime is completely out of control. If you just robbed me, I believe there should be a consequence.” He likes Malliotakis’ views on crime and border security.
“She’s pretty consistent with what she says,” Thurlow said. “I’m comfortable with her, I don’t know Max Rose as well.”
After a number of robberies in Bay Ridge and Dyker Heights left some residents and businessowners shaken, Malliotakis in September called on Governor Kathy Hochul, to reverse bail reform laws in the state — claiming they were allowing repeat offenders to roam the streets and commit more crimes — though no arrests had been made at the time. The NYPD later debunked assertions of a “crime wave” in the nabe.
Still, Joseph Pidoriano, another Malliotakis supporter attending her election night party, said he felt confident the midterms would result in a red wave — and a “common sense wave.”
“Democrats forced our businesses to close in 2020, they forced the jab,” he said. “They raised taxes before and after COVID. Shipping costs are humungous. Our state and country is in trouble. I hope our country moves in the right direction, and I hope the GOP stands up for its values and goals.”
Rose supporters were focused less on specific policy and more on Malliotakis’ views at large — and the views of the Republican party.
“I’m a bit nervous. I just want to make sure democracy stays,” Rose voter Lana told Brooklyn Paper after she voted at Christ Church in Bay Ridge on Tuesday. “So I’m a little bit concerned about it. I just hope the people make the right decision.”
Last year, Malliotakis voted against certifying 2020 presidential election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania, and, earlier this year, dodged questions about if she stands by her vote. Over the summer, Malliotakis joined the rest of the Republican party in voting against codifying the protections of Roe v. Wade into federal law.
“As long as we have been a country there have always been politicians building their power on vitriol and division,” Rose said after conceding. “And as long as they’ve existed, so too have there been folks like us, just like you, who have rejected that kind of politics and have believed down to their heart and soul in America’s fundamental promise. Believing in and fighting for what American can be and must be is not for the faint of heart, and neither is being a Staten Island Democrat.”
Looking forward to carrying on in office, Malliotakis vowed Tuesday night to do those who voted for her proud.