Scary politics swept through Staten Island on Halloween Saturday as first-term Democratic Rep. Max Rose and Republican rival Nicole Malliotakis trick-or-treated throughout the 11th congressional district for votes.
The House Republican leadership political action committee backing Malliotakis engaged in the most spooky tactic — hounding Rose with a mobile billboard saying the congressman was “Good for [House Speaker Nancy] Pelosi, Bad for the NYPD.”
The billboard also blared a message that claimed Rose, a decorated Army vet, was a “Puppet of Defund the Police Liberals.”
The campaign stunt, paid for by the GOP Congressional Leadership Fund, was parked outside Rose’s campaign office on Forest Avenue Saturday morning.
“When he first ran for Congress, Max Rose promised to support law enforcement, then he turned his back on the NYPD and marched with radicals to defund them,” said CLF Press Secretary Will Reinert.
“As Congressman Rose makes his final campaign stops, this mobile billboard will follow him every step of the way and remind voters that Max Rose is not the man he claims to be.”
The Rose camp slammed the GOP scare tactic as youngsters were trick or treating in the 11th congressional district that encompasses the island and southern Brooklyn. All the GOP did was spook kids at a Halloween party taking place near his campaign office, the campaign said.
“Only Nicole Malliotakis and DC hacks would think sending a truck with a malfunctioning sound system to a kids’ Halloween party is intelligent,” said Rose spokesman Jonas Edward-Jenks.
“Maybe if they spent less time supporting property tax increases and more time using their brains they wouldn’t be about to lose to Max once again.”
Meanwhile Rose on Saturday was endorsed by a bevy of Black and Hispanic pastors at a press conference in Port Richmond.
“The great poet Ralph Waldo Emerson once remarked that what we do speaks louder than what we say. Max needs to be returned to Washington not because he’s a fellow Democrat, but because he has earned the affirmative nod. Max ran for Congress with a pledge to represent all Staten Islanders and he has lived up to that promise,” said Bishop Victor Brown of St. Philip’s Baptist Church.
For her part, Malliotakis stumped at the West Brighton Halloween Festival in the afternoon and at a shopping center in Dyker Heights, Brooklyn earlier in the day.
By the end of Friday, more than 25 percent of eligible Staten Island voters already cast their ballots at polling sites during the first seven days of early voting — the highest turnout rate of all counties in the entire state, Board of Election records show.
The two sides have waged nasty attacks against each other for months and there’s only a few more days to go to get in their last licks.
Malliotakis and the GOP have taken issue with Rose participating in an anti-police brutality march over the summer following the death of George Floyd, where there were scattered anti-cops signs and calls to defund the police. The PBA and other law enforcement unions have endorsed Malliotakis.
Rose said that was a specious attack because he opposes cutting police funding and has pushed laws in Congress to aid police and other first responders, including those sickened after responding to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
Rose meanwhile has run ads, printed billboards and law signs accusing Malliotakis of supporting property tax increases because she expressed support for President Trump’s 2017 tax overhaul. While that law cut income taxes and corporate taxes for many New Yorkers, it also raised taxes on wealthier homeowners by imposing a $10,000 cap on deducting state and local taxes on federal income tax returns. Former GOP Rep. Dan Donovan, whom Rose upset in 2018, voted against the tax bill.
Malliotakis said she opposes property tax increases and called the Rose attack a lie.
A recent poll shows that the race is a virtual dead heat and that turnout, as well as the performance of GOP incumbent President Trump and Democratic challenger, former Vice President Joe Biden, could impact the outcome. Trump won the district by 10 points over Hillary Clinton in 2016 and a recent survey showed Trump ahead of Biden by seven points there.
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