Rep. Nicole Malliotakis is projected by Spectrum News to beat back a challenge from former Rep. Max Rose, the Democrat she bested two years ago to take a seat representing Staten Island and part of southern Brooklyn.

With 88% of the expected vote reporting as of 12:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, Malliotakis holds a decisive lead over Rose 62.1% to 37.9%, according to The Associated Press. 

At her Election Night party in Staten Island’s Rosebank section, she called her projected victory one for the overlooked.

“And just as we served for the last two years, we were representing the hard-working, taxpaying American citizen in Staten Island and southern Brooklyn that just wasn’t getting a fair shake," Malliotakis said in her victory speech.

In his concession speech Rose struck a hopeful note.

“This is not the time to give up or to back down," he said. "One election alone does not define the trajectory of our borough, our city, our state or our country.”

In an interview with NY1 after the polls closed, Malliotakis noted that if her party controlled the House of Representatives next year would mark a first for her. 

She served in the Republican minorities as a freshman and during her 10 years in the state Assembly.

“I look forward to being on the offense now to pass good legislation to secure our borders, to support our police and to make sure that we give people the government they deserve, one that is fair," Malliotakis said. 

A junior member of Republican leadership and an ally of former President Donald Trump, she is in line for a significant role in Republicans' plans for the next two years.

In her campaign, Malliotakis ran on crime, criticizing Democrats for rising inflation, and opposing the housing of asylum seekers on Staten Island. In October, she told The City her constituents were “concerned these individuals may become desperate at some point and resort to criminal activity to survive.”

“We’re right on the issues,” she told NY1 in October. “When it comes to public safety, when it comes to economy and stemming the tide of illegal immigration and cracking down on this rise in inflation.”

A Spectrum News/Siena College poll conducted in September showed Malliotakis with a six percentage point advantage in a district with a 58% unfavorable rating of President Joe Biden. Economic and cost of living issues were cited by 65% of voters as one of their top two concerns. Crime was among the top two issues for 42% of voters, followed by “threats to our democracy” at 24%.

Rose, an Army veteran who represented the district from 2019 to 2021, attempted to make the same case Gov. Kathy Hochul made about her Republican opponent Rep. Lee Zeldin: Malliotakis is an “extremist” on questions of gun control, abortion, and the legitimacy of the 2020 election. The Republican congresswoman voted against the certification of the 2020 presidential election results in Arizona and Pennsylvania on Jan. 6, 2021, just days into her first term.

But it was not enough to overcome the Republican advantage in the district, which voted for Donald Trump by 10 percentage points in 2020. In the closest thing New York City has to a swing district — barring a mostly Nassau County district that contains a small portion of Queens — Republicans notched their sixth victory in the past seven elections.