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Pundit: Intense Rose-Malliotakis Congressional Race A Toss Up

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A bitter debate was held Wednesday night in New York City's hottest Congressional race.

Voters in South Brooklyn and Staten Island are choosing between candidates who call each other "fraud" and "hypocrite," CBS2's Tony Aiello reported Thursday.

The 11th Congressional District is the only swing district in the city. It went for Donald Trump in the 2016 election and then two years later booted a GOP congressman in favor of Democrat Max Rose, who is now fighting for re-election against Republican Nicole Malliotakis.

Republican Nicole Malliotakis and Democrat Max Rose clashed on just about every topic during a heated debate on Oct. 14, 2020, for New York City's 11th Congressional District. (Credit: NY1)

They went at it Wednesday night.

MORERepublican Nicole Malliotakis, Democrat Max Rose Clash In Heated Debate For NY's 11th Congressional District

"Max was marching in front of our local police precinct with the 'defund the police' crowd," Malliotakis said.

"We'll have enough time to deal with your lies throughout the course of this conversation," Rose responded.

The debate got so heated, at one point moderator Errol Louis signaled for the mics to be cut.

"I think this is one of the most important races to watch nationally," said Rich Flanagan, a professor at CUNY College of Staten Island.

MORECampaign 2020: Tri-State Area Voter Guide For Nov. 3 General Election

Flanagan rates the race a toss-up, with Rose treading carefully when it comes to President Trump.

"During the height of impeachment I was still at the White House standing behind the President of the United States when he announced his executive order on anti-Semitism," Rose said.

"You said that you were going to not impeach the president and then you turned around and did. So why should anyone, anyone on Staten Island or Brooklyn believe anything that you say?" Malliotakis said.

Flanagan said Rose is trying to convince those Trump voters to split the ticket, "Vote for Trump up top, but they should vote for the Democrat who gets things done."

"What we have seen is when we put country first, when we stand up to both party leaders, when we focus on results, sky's the limit," Rose said.

"We need to stand up against socialism and I will fight to stop it and preserve the American dream for future generations," Malliotakis said.

MORECampaign 2020: Race For Congress Between Democrat Max Rose, Republican Nicole Malliotakis Is One Of Country's Most Contentious

Flanagan said Malliotakis has the endorsement of the police union, and that she will not stand with the Black Lives Matter movement.

The candidates are flooding the airwaves. Rose calls his opponent a fraud. Malliotakis says he's a hypocrite.

Early voting starts Oct. 24.

The candidates find common ground in their disdain for Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Malliotakis got 70% of the Staten Island vote when she ran for mayor in 2017. Rose is running ads calling de Blasio the worst mayor in city history.

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