In an unusually acrimonious election season, the political discourse in the NY-11 race has been nothing but trash talk, with much of it playing out on Twitter and other social media.
Both incumbent Democratic Congressman Max Rose, and Republican challenger Nicole Malliotakis, are using multiple media platforms and commercials claiming that their opponent is a “fraud.”
The 11th District of New York, made up of the entirety of Staten Island and south Brooklyn, is the “most conservative district in New York City.”
According to the New York State Board of Elections website, the total number of active registered Republicans in District 11 is 127,337, compared to 195,986 active Democrats and 106,264 independent voters.
Rose beat Republican Dan Donovan in the 2018 “blue wave” that swept New York, becoming only the second Democrat to take the seat in 30 years.
Malliotakis was first elected to the state Assembly in 2010 and run for mayor of New York City in 2017, losing to de Blasio 27 – 66 percent.
This race became ugly fast.
Rose’s team has created websites targeting Malliotakis, with headlines such as “Nicole Malliotakis is a fraud, fraud, fraud” and “Politician Nicole Malliotakis has proven she will say and do anything to get elected.” Malliotakis fired back, with sites that read “Defund Max Rose” at the very top.
Both candidates agree on one thing, however – their disdain for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. In fact, a favorite tactic of both camps was trying to associate their opponent with the mayor in some possible way.
In a video posted to Twitter on September 9, Rose stated that “Bill de Blasio is the worst Mayor in the history of New York City.” The video fades to black as he continues by saying “That’s it guys…that’s the whole ad.” Rose has two Twitter accounts; @MaxRose4NY, his official campaign account, and @RepMaxRose, his House account.
Malliotakis relies primarily on one account, her official campaign account @NMalliotakis.
With the COVID-19 pandemic hampering most traditional forms and strategies of political campaigning, Twitter and other forms of social media have been a key platform for both candidates to keep in touch with their voter base.
Overall, Rose has sent out over 3,376 tweets for the entirety of his account, but Malliotakis has sent out 20,500.
Since the beginning of September, both Rose and Malliotakis have tweeted more than 200 times, with no candidate tweeting significantly more than the other. Both candidates seem to use Twitter for similar purposes: Posting pictures from the few in-person events they attend, speaking about their political platforms, linking articles and retweeting others, and taking political shots at each other.
Under the handle @MaxRose4NY, Rose on Oct. 11 tweeted that “Nicole Malliotakis is falling in line with her party, even though it means screwing over New Yorkers — our restaurant owners, our essential workers, our public servants. It’s party first for her, not country.”
Even more recently, on November 1st, Rose claimed that she was “lying saying that Bill de Blasio endorsed me to try and distract her from her own abysmal record.”
This tweet was accompanied by an interview video of Rose defending himself. “If the mayor even tried to endorse me, I’d put the endorsement in the middle of the street, I’d get in the truck and I’d drive over the endorsement,” he said in the clip.
Malliotakis tweeted on Oct. 11 that she will continue her “record of fighting taxes and burdensome regulations and, unlike my opponent, I would never vote to hold up critical funds that aid them.”
Just hours before Election Day, she sent out a Tweet directed at her Brooklyn constituents, stating that Max Rose sold them out and “sided with de Blasio by supporting his plan to close Rikers and build a jail in your borough.”
With this Tweet being published not even 24 hours before Nov. 3rd, it is clear to see that both Rose and Malliotakis show no signs of stopping until the very end.
With the pandemic making it even harder to have in-person contact with the candidates, many voters have turned to their social media accounts to speak directly with voters and the news media.
On the morning of Nov. 3, Malliotakis tweeted: “Today’s the day! Vote for Law & Order, A Strong Economy & to Preserve America’s freedom and values. It’s ALL on the line.”
For his part, Rose acknowledged in a tweet on Tuesday morning the media storm that surrounded the race for the 11th Congressional District:
“It’s Election Day, which means:
And—no more commercials!”