GOP’s Nicole Malliotakis takes commanding lead against Rep. Max Rose

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Republican challenger Nicole Malliotakis grabbed a commanding lead against Democratic Rep. Max Rose in the early vote tallies Tuesday night, following an often bitter and grinding multimillion-dollar campaign that blanketed the Big Apple’s airwaves.

The GOP assemblywoman won 58 precent of the ballots cast during early voting and on Election Day, while Rose netted just 41 percent, according to tallies from 87 percent of precincts.

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 Republican politics.

These results are not final and do not include any votes from the roughly 45,000 absentee ballots mailed to voters in the district, as New Yorkers skip in-person voting during the coronavirus pandemic. However, Rose would have to capture virtually all of them to close the 34,522 vote gap he now faces.

Under state law, the Board of Elections cannot begin to tally the absentee ballots until after Election Day. Officials say they plan to begin the count on Monday.

The pair spent the final months duking it out over the civil rights and police reform protests that roiled New York during the summer — some of which were violent — as Malliotakis charged that Rose failed to provide enough support to the NYPD in the first-responder heavy district.

The dynamics of New York’s 11th Congressional District explain why Malliotakis’s campaign leaned heavily into the “law and order” arguments made by Trump.

Rose’s 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.

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.

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 the 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.

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