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

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Republican Nicole Malliotakis and Democrat Max Rose clashed on just about every topic during a heated debate Wednesday for New York's 11th Congressional District.

"I'm running for Congress to replace Max Rose, somebody who has misrepresented our community and voted 97% of the time with Nancy Pelosi against our values," Malliotakis said.

"We will have enough time to deal with your lies throughout the course of this conversation," Rose said.

The hostility in this hotly contested Congressional race between incumbent Democrat Max Rose and Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis was obvious right out of the gate, beginning with arguments over mass gatherings and rallies.

"Nicole hosted what could have potentially been a massive superspreader event," Rose said.

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"Max was marching in front of our local police precinct with the 'Defund the Police' crowd even earlier. It was really at the height of this pandemic," Malliotakis said.

The two hammered away at each other on the response to the coronavirus, taxes and the impeachment of President Donald Trump. The stakes are high in the swing district, which covers Staten Island and southern Brooklyn.

Voters took note of the negative tone long before the virtual faceoff.

"It's become very nasty, extra political," Staten Island resident Martha Klimuk told CBS2's Jessica Layton. "It's gonna be an ugly race."

"I see it on the ads," Staten Island resident Sam Suly said. "They're always saying that they're frauds."

"It's everything you hate about politics all in one person. Nicole Malliotakis, the first-class fraud," says an ad for Rose.

"The only thing standing between us and violent chaos is a thin blue line. A line radically shrinking thanks to liberals like Congressman Max Rose," an ad for Malliotakis says.

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"I would never turn my back on NYPD as our Congressman did," Malliotakis said during Wednesday's debate.

The debate frequently came back to the issue of police reform.

The Army veteran disputed the point that he's out to defund police several times.

"I was opposed to defunding right from the get-go, but..." Rose said before being interrupted by Malliotakis.

That part of the conversation got so contentious the candidates' mics were cut.

The attacks continued on Twitter after the debate.

Also during the debate, we learned neither candidate supports a federal mask mandate.

Early voting in New York begins Oct. 24.

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