The GOP’s road to ousting Rose

for Brooklyn Paper
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It’s official: the battle royal between Republicans hoping to unseat newly elected Democratic Rep. Max Rose in 2020 has begun.

Last week, GOP Assemblywoman and 2017 mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis — who in Albany represents many of the same Brooklyn neighborhoods that Rose does down in Washington, DC — filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to begin raising funds for her future campaign against the freshman Congressman.

Malliotakis teased her decision in a Jan. 18 tweet, which included a photo of her with the House of Representa­tives’s top Republican — Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy, from California — whom she thanked for “facilitating” a phone call with President Trump. Of course, those who read between the lines knew her desired message was that national Republicans are recruiting her to win back New York’s 11th Congressional District — which also includes all of Staten Island — from Rose and the Democratic Party.

Also expected to reenter the fray on the right is Michael Grimm, the convicted felon who held Rose’s seat from 2011 to 2015, before resigning after pleading guilty to tax fraud. Grimm — who last year lost a primary bid for his old seat to his successor, former GOP Rep. Dan Donovan, who went on to lose to Rose in the general election — promptly went on the attack after Malliotakis made her filing statement, declaring, “It is comical to expect Republican voters will want someone as unprincipled, unaccomplished, and underwhelming as Nicole to share the ballot with President Trump in 2020. This is a joke … just like her mayoral debacle was.” Talk about taking the gloves off!

Staten Island GOP Councilman Joe Borelli is being floated as a serious candidate, too. He served as a co-chair of Trump’s presidential campaign, and has unabashedly supported the president in the national media. Borelli — whom many see as well-respected, smart, and politically savvy — reportedly also recently went down to Washington, DC, to meet with Republican leaders about a potential campaign.

Still, Malliotakis has already earned some telling support for her bid, including an endorsement from the Brooklyn Conservative Party, which always plays a significant role in local Republican primaries. State GOP powerbroker John Catsimatidis — whom I work for, and who unsuccessfully ran for mayor in 2013 — has also pledged his allegiance to the Assemblywoman.

The early jockeying to oust Rose comes as a response to what many see as a disturbing move to the left among Democrats since the November election that put him in office. Kings County constituents make up less than a third of Rose’s 11th Congressional District, but its Brooklyn electorate has moved further and further to the left since the late ‘90s — one reason why past Republicans who’ve held the seat typically win most of their votes from Staten Island, and few from Brooklyn.

Last fall, for instance, Rose and Donovan virtually ran neck and neck on Staten Island, where the Democrat won 49.9 percent of votes, compared to the Republican incumbent’s 48.6 percent. But Brooklyn was another story, with Donovan getting only 39 percent of votes, compared to Rose’s 58 percent.

Prior to his loss to Rose last year, Donovan earned about 52 percent of the Kings County vote when he defeated Democratic rival Richard Reichard to win the office in 2016. Before that, the last time a GOP candidate won this side of the Narrows while campaigning to represent the area was in 2006, when former Rep. Vito Fossella claimed the seat — which then represented New York’s 13th Congressional District — after making a dedicated effort to boost his political operation in Brooklyn.

Fossella ultimately netted some 51 percent of the Kings County vote in his race after moving his district office to a more central location, and hiring more staffers dedicated to the borough — including this columnist, who served as his operation’s Brooklyn Director.

Indeed, data from the past eight congressional elections in the district, from 2004 through 2018, shows Republican candidates averaging roughly 45 percent of the Kings County vote, and roughly 55 percent of that on Staten Island. The key to a GOP victory is pushing a candidate who will not get totally decimated in Brooklyn. And Malliotakis, who won about 70 percent of the vote in the district during her unsuccessful mayoral campaign, could hold that key if she can again convince those voters to return to her corner.

The Assemblywoman at this moment seems to be the GOP’s best positioned candidate to defeat Rose come 2020, thanks to her years of service to those Brooklyn neighborhoods she has represented in Albany since 2011 — and because she is now the borough’s only Republican elected official.

But winning won’t be a cakewalk for her or any candidate. The local Republican Party still remains rudderless following the departure of its former chairman, Bay Ridgite Craig Eaton, and its presence in the borough shrunk after many long-time pols, most notably former state Sen. Marty Golden, lost their seats last fall. Many GOP clubs have gone by the wayside over the past few years as well.

Any Republican candidate must overcome all of these challenges — and the mighty task of turning around almost two decades of polling data — if she or he wants to reclaim the 11th Congressional District for the GOP.

Bob Capano is a professor of political science of more than 15 years, who has previously worked for local Democratic and Republican pols, and as the chairman of the Brooklyn Reform Party.

Posted 12:00 am, January 31, 2019
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Reasonable discourse

Wilbur D. Horse from Gravesend says:
The LAST thing we need is another Do Nothing Republican like Vanishing Dan Donovan. In April 2018, his life's work consisted of hanging Komrade Trump's portrait in the Post Office. To Vanishing Dan, there were no other problems in the United States! We need leaders, not followers, in public office.
Jan. 31, 2019, 6:53 am
John from Bay Ridge says:
Rose is a reasonable centrist who isn’t under the control of the Staten Island Republican cabal. I can’t see a single Republican candidate that is either qualified or frankly intelligent. Malliotakis is an empty suit in the Vito Fossella mold. Not interested.
Jan. 31, 2019, 8:05 am
Tyler from pps says:
That district electing a centrist, who actually seems a few notches above bottom-feeder showed me a twinkle of hope. And your boss, Catsimatidis, isn't a power broker (as if that's even a positive term). He's garbage.
Jan. 31, 2019, 10:25 am
Henry Ford from Bay Ridge says:
Who wants a wannabe Republican when you can have the real thing? Enjoy your short stay in DC, Max.
Jan. 31, 2019, 2:02 pm
Jim from Bay ridge says:
Nicole is our best choice
Jan. 31, 2019, 6:05 pm
Chad from Bed Stuy says:
I want whoever is going to be the most faithful to President Trump and will vote to eliminate the death tax.
Jan. 31, 2019, 7:46 pm
Benny from Park Slope says:
Obstruction of justice. Witness tampering. Campaign finance violations (those are felonies, you effing mororns). A charitable foundation in Drumpf's name that NY state SHUT DOWN because it was so corrupt and was engaged in so much criminal activity. Half a dozen of the scumbag POTUS's close associates and administration officials pleading guilty to crimes or facing indictment on federal and state charges. A so-called "president" who is clearly doing the Kremlin's bidding. A fake "national emergency" on our southern border so the Bone Spur-in-Chief can keep his mouth-breathing base confused and enraged. Tax cuts for the ultra-rich and corporations that will give the U.S. a $1.5 TRILLION deficit in 10 years. And yet "conservative" Republicans still support the treasonous, semi-literate weasel and pathological liar in the White House. Enjoy your xenophobic, morally bankrupt party's complete destruction in 2020, losers.
Feb. 1, 2019, 10:55 am
Chad from Bed Stuy says:
Benny posts all that fake news and misses the only part that matters. President Trump’s tax cuts have ensured that my family’s money will stay where it belongs. In my family. Now he needs to finish the job and sign a bill eliminating the death tax. Everything else is just noise.
Feb. 1, 2019, 11:55 am
Joe from Dyker hts says:
I agree with Capano
Feb. 1, 2019, 2:14 pm
Merlino Fabro from Dyker Heights says:
Let's be real. Max Rose is a far-left liberal, and a carpetbagger. As of 2014, Rose lived in Hastings on the Hudson, NY. He moved to Bay Ridge on in 2015, and then to Staten Island was processed on 2016. According to his Lambda Independent Democrats of Brooklyn 2018 Candidate Questionnaire: Max Rose supports: No funding for a wall at the Mexico-U.S. border. Maintaining the Diversity Visa Lottery: The New York State DREAM Act (A.9605), which would permit undocumented students who meet in-state tuition requirements to access state financial aid and scholarships for higher education. Denying religious institutions the use of New York City public school buildings for worship services. The elimination of the death penalty nationwide And he opposes: The use of school vouchers to permit students to attend private schools paid with public school dollars. Organized prayer in public schools. According to his Brooklyn Progressive Organization Fight Back Bay Ridge Candidate Questionnaire, Max Rose suppports: Single-payer healthcare, ending Mediare as we know it, and Blanket amnesty & citizenship for ALL illegal aliens He also favors raising taxes Last but not least, his website says he was endorsed by the Muslim Democratic Club of NY, founded and run by Linda Sarsour, who is known to many in the Jewish community as an anti-Semite.
Feb. 6, 2019, 4:33 pm

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