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

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- It's a slugfest in New York City's 11th Congressional District.

Republican Nicole Malliotakis is chomping at the bit to unseat Democrat Max Rose in one of the country's most closely watched matchups.

As CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported Thursday, both sides are spending millions on the race.

"When Nicole Malliotakis was learning how to lie in Albany, I was carrying an M4 in Afghanistan," Rose says in a campaign ad.

"Rose joined de Blasio and the defund-the-police crowd, called to dismantle the NYPD, close Rikers Island and end cash bail," says an ad for Malliotakis.

The congressional seat encompassing Staten Island and southern Brooklyn represents one of the country's most contentious swing districts.

It's currently held by Rose, a 33-year-old U.S. Army veteran.

In 2019, Rose beat Republican Dan Donovan to become the second Democrat in 30 years to hold the seat.

CAMPAIGN 2020: Early Voting In New York City Starts Oct. 24

"We need somebody who gets things done and stands up to both allegiance shouldn't matter," said Rose.

If Malliotakis wins, she would be the only Republican representing New York City in Washington, D.C.

"The top issue is to provide an alternative viewpoint of what is happening in our city. Fighting to ensure that these crazy policies here in New York do not become federal law," said Malliotakis.

How voters feel about President Donald Trump, who endorsed Malliotakis, and Mayor Bill de Blasio could affect the outcome.

The mayor is so unpopular on Staten Island that Rose took the unusual step of blasting a fellow Democrat.

"Bill de Blasio is the worst mayor in the history of New York City... That's it guys. Seriously, that's the whole ad," says Rose in another campaign commercial.

That ad might help Rose but, on the other hand, Malliotakis may be able to one-up him as a de Blasio foe.

She ran against him for mayor and, although de Blasio won, she creamed him on Staten Island, getting 70% of the vote.

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"Standing up to Mayor de Blasio when 75% of the district hates him is not very courageous. It's just following a poll," Malliotakis said.

"I don't do anything because it's politically expedient... It's a statement of truth, not a statement of opinion," Rose said.

The race is tight, which is why so much money is being spent to win the seat.

"I support whoever supports Trump," one voter said. "De Blasio's got to go."

"I like her ideas better and her support for Staten Island," said another.

"I just like his ideals and what he stands for," a third voter told Kramer.

With so much on the line for both parties nationally, this is a race that could get a whole lot uglier before Election Day.

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