Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis will hold on to Staten Island’s congressional seat, fending off her challenger and predecessor Max Rose in the closely watched battle for New York City’s most conservative district.
The Associated Press called the race for Malliotakis just after 9:30 p.m. Shortly after the race was called Rose conceded.
In a short victory speech, Malliotakis highlighted her "amazing mandate from the people of Staten Island and southern Brooklyn," adding she was hopeful her race would auger similar results both in New York and across the country.
"The first thing we're going to do is fire Nancy Pelosi!" she said, earning the biggest applause of the night from the crowd of supporters.
Rose, a moderate Democrat and Army veteran, narrowly lost the seat to Malliotakis in 2020, two years after pulling off an upset that helped propel the blue wave across the U.S.
As Democrats cling to a narrow majority in the House, the race for the 11th Congressional District – which also includes the southern Brooklyn neighborhoods of Gravesend, Dyker Heights, and Bensonhurst – was once again seen as a potential national bellwether.
Like many Democrats, Rose sought to galvanize voter concerns over abortion, but struggled to overcome his opponent’s messaging on crime, immigration and the economy.
While registered Democrats outnumber Republicans on Staten Island, the historical swing borough has become increasingly red, and overwhelmingly backed President Donald Trump in the previous two elections.
Malliotakis, too, has moved rightward. Once skeptical of Donald Trump, she has fully embraced the former president, touting his campaign endorsement and calling on him to help get out the vote in recent weeks.
But Malliotakis retained strong support from the city’s police unions, echoing their attacks on the state’s bail reform as the disastrous result of New York’s “one-party rule.”
And she capitalized on the arrival of asylum-seekers on Staten Island, rallying alongside other elected officials to denounce the borough’s new hotel shelters.
Rose, meanwhile, walked a careful line, distancing himself from Democrats on issues such as bail reform and immigration, while offering himself as a pragmatic alternative to what he called Malliotakis’ far-right beliefs.
Rose called specific attention to her opposition to abortion rights, an issue Malliotakis has sought to downplay in the wake of the decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, even as she voted against bills that would maintain access to abortion in certain states and allow people to use to out-of-state services.
In a recent interview with Gothamist, Rose acknowledged that voters were “complicated,” but said he was holding out hope that his former constituents would turn out to oppose the Republican attack on reproductive rights.
“It gets to the very fiber of who we are as a nation,” he said. “And it's in danger.”
Rose kept his concession speech upbeat, but he did get in at least one dig at Malliotakis for challenging the results of the last presidential election.
“While tonight’s outcome was certainly not the outcome we were hoping for, in this party and as proud Americans, we respect the outcomes of elections,” he said.
At Rose's election night party shortly after the results were called, Staten Island native Charles Greinsky, 71, who once sat on the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board and served as a member of former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s veterans advisory board, lamented that both the left and right are being taken over by people on the political fringes.
But, in particular, he said he worried about Staten Island moving farther to the right.
“I know the duplicitousness of Nicole and anyone who wants the support of this crazy yellow haired president does not represent me,” Greinsky said, referring to Trump.
This story has been updated with comments from Nicole Malliotakis and Max Rose.