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Former New York congressman Max Rose launches comeback bid

Outspoken Jewish Democrat from Staten Island lost his seat to Republican last year; says he aspires to ‘affordable and fair,’ more unified US

Luke Tress is an editor and a reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.

Max Rose poses for a portrait outside his office in Staten Island, New York, October 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Max Rose poses for a portrait outside his office in Staten Island, New York, October 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

NEW YORK — Max Rose, a former congressman from Staten Island, announced a comeback bid to regain his seat on Monday.

Rose, a Jewish, moderate Democrat, lost his seat in New York’s 11th Congressional District last year to Republican Nicole Malliotakis.

In a video announcing his run, he highlighted the series of crises in the US in recent years, including the pandemic, school shootings and the January 6 insurrection.

“The alarm bells, they never stop ringing, and the people we trust to fix it, they divide us, they lie to us, tearing America apart just to hold onto power,” he said.

“I’m running because this country, it can be affordable and fair. Our politics can lift us up rather than tear us down. The America we believe in is possible.”

Staten Island is a political battleground in the overwhelmingly Democratic New York City and its environs. The island voted for former US president Donald Trump in the presidential election, and Malliotakis voted against certifying the results of the 2020 election.

 

Malliotakis beat Rose by about six percentage points last year in a district that usually leans Republican. Republicans did surprisingly well in recent US elections, including in some areas of New York state.

Rose will need to win the Democratic primary before running against Malliotakis.

Representative Richie Torres, a centrist Democrat in New York City and a supporter of Israel, came out in favor of Rose’s comeback bid.

Rose served as a top defense adviser to the Biden administration, experience he highlighted in his announcement, along with his military service in Afghanistan.

Representative Nicole Malliotakis, a New York Republican, speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington, May 19, 2021. (Stefani Reynolds/The New York Times via AP, Pool)

He is staunchly pro-Israel, known for his blunt, outspoken speaking style, and has shown he is willing to cross party lines. He has lashed New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio for his perceived lack of support for New York police, and supported Trump’s executive order against antisemitism.

The 11th District covers all of Staten Island and parts of southern Brooklyn.

Malliotakis has visited Israel twice, including over the summer, when she met with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and other government leaders. She has vocally supported Israel, including during the last Israel-Hamas conflict in May.

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