NEW YORK — It was a debate so contentious …

“... And then you go to Washington and you do something else ...”

… in a race so heated …

“... I’m just genuinely confused, because you’re running for Congress ...”

… that the moderator — NY1 Political Anchor Errol Louis — eventually had to jump in.

“We don’t want to have to start cutting mics and all of that kind of stuff," he said.

Democratic Rep. Max Rose and his Republican challenger, Nicole Malliotakis, faced off Thursday in a NY1 debate reflective of the rancor in the presidential election.

What You Need To Know

  • Democratic incumbent, Republican challenger locked in city's most competitive House race

  • Rivals trade barbs on stimulus package, personal responsibility in coronavirus pandemic

  • Rose says he does not back defunding the police, contrary to Malliotakis's attacks

  • Malliotakis says she doesn't support increasing property taxes, despite Rose ads

They’re vying for a swing House district that over the last decade has switched from a Democrat to two Republicans back to a Democrat.

They clashed on nearly everything, including the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I don’t know why Max Rose is here right now," Malliotakis said. "Why is he not in Washington trying to force Nancy Pelosi for a vote? I mean, that’s what he should be doing. If I were a member of Congress, I wouldn’t have left Washington until we had a deal.”

“Nicole hosted what could have potentially been a massive super-spreader event," Rose said. "Now, if we’re going to follow the science, we shouldn’t be gathering thousands of people together where many of them are not wearing masks.”

They also butted heads on what Rose says are Malliotakis’s lies about him supporting the “defund the police” movement.

“I’m the only person in this race who’s put on a uniform, who’s bled for my country, who has asked young men and women to risk their lives," Rose said. "I would never defund the police. In fact, I have only fought for more money for law enforcement across the nation.”

And they traded words on what Malliotakis says are Rose’s lies about her supporting the hiking of property taxes.

“I am proud to have voted against tax increases 350 times," she said. "I have led the fight to hold Mayor de Blasio accountable against property taxes. It was one of the reasons I ran for mayor in the first place.”

Rose is a centrist first-termer who’s critical of Mayor Bill de Blasio and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Malliotakis has the support of President Donald Trump, and sought to paint her rival as aligned with the left wing of his party.

Rose has a $5 million fundraising advantage over Malliotakis as they head into the final weeks of a race that promises to keep the intensity high right through Election Day.


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