Abortion is not the topic of New York representative Nicole Malliotakis, whom she currently talks about freely in public.
And her newfound restraint suits her rival Max Rose.
Rose, a Democrat, is struggling to regain her seat in Congress that Malliotakis now holds – a position she took from him in 2020 – in the same year that her ally, former President Donald Trump, was expelled from the White House.
The neighborhood they run in covers all of Staten Island, as well as much of southern Brooklyn. In any other congressional district in the city, coupling a Republican rival with Donald Trump would be obvious to a running Democrat.
Not in this race.
Much of the neighborhood is Trump Country. And while Trump is still faced with a lot of investigations, making the Trump-Malliotakis link a cornerstone of his campaign is arguably not a winning path for Rose.
However, ab*rtion is a completely different story.
And in recent days, Rose has shown that he is ready to take advantage of this issue – one that re-entered the minds of many voters in June when the US Supreme Court overturned the Roe v. Wade case.
While Democrats called on lawmakers in the blue states to bring choice into state law, Republicans did the opposite by banning red states. Last week, Senator Lindsey Graham took it a step further by introducing a law prohibiting ab*rtion after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
When the Daily News asked her about it in Capitol Hill in Washington, Malliotakis seemed to be responding with the thought of her re-election.
“Haven’t seen it,” told The News.
She recalled that this is a 15-week ban with exceptions for rape, incest and mother safety, said: “Send the bill to my office and we’ll tell you.”
After The News sent the bill to her office, Malliotakis continued to refuse to answer.
When asked about his opponent and about Rose’s ab*rtion, who is pro-choice, he suggested none of this should come as a surprise.
“She will do and say anything to distract from the fact that the way she has acted on the case shows that she does not belong to Congress,” the News told The News. “Nicole was not in the least amount of contradiction. This is the only area where she has been consistent.
Malliotakis, however, was inconsistent in her approach to the problem. She was silent in the last few days.
But for most of her political career – in a city that is mostly democratic and overwhelmingly supports the right of choice – she framed the case in the context that Roe v. Wade was a safe legal precedent with very little threat of overthrow. Sometimes it even goes so far as to signify support for a decision that remains in force.
“I’m not going to change the law,” said the Gotham Gazette in 2017 when she ran for mayor of New York. “I’m not going to overrule Roe v. Wade. I have my own personal beliefs, but I don’t want to impose my views on other women. “
A year later, when Democrats in Albany pressed for Roe to be codified into state law for fear that the decision might be overturned, Malliotakis mocked the effortsaying it’s “disgusting that they’ll use it.” [ab*rtion] as a problem to get political points ”.
In an editorial published at the time, she put it even more bluntly.
“For nearly half a century, the Democratic Party has used the Roe v. Wade verdict as a political bogeyman to scare women and gain political points, threatening the Republican election to invalidate this landmark ab*rtion right decision,” she wrote. “History belies this scare tactic. Since the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, there have been six Republican presidents. “
Of course, Roe was ousted in large part because Trump, a Republican, pushed three Supreme Court justices during his four years in office. Only after their confirmation did the court overrule Roe.
Since then, Malliotakis has remained against ab*rtion, but is much less frank about it.
In May, after the court’s draft opinion on the case was leaked, it referred to it as a court case.
“This is a decision of the courts, not politicians” then she said.
Previously, however, she had not been so shy about other Supreme Court decisions. In January, she praised the court for blocking one of President Biden’s COVID vaccination mandates, saying in a tweet that the administration “exceeded its powers – which my colleagues and I argued about in the amicus deal we filed with the court.”
The district represented by Malliotakis is certainly the most conservative in the city. And while Democrats oppose the Roe v. Wade case overturned by a large margin, polls show that Republicans are not entirely in favor of a court decision either. In an August poll by Sienna College, 40% of New York State Republican respondents said they opposed the Supreme Court’s decision to withdraw Roe.
What role this will play in this race will of course not be clear until the votes are counted.
“Women are not happy,” noted longtime Democrat strategist Hank Sheinkopf. “But Staten Island is so Catholic and also very conservative.”
However, Rose’s campaign went on the offensive due to the embarrassing position of the opponent in the matter.
Last Thursday he announced that he had delivered Graham’s bill to Malliotakis’s office.
“Staten Islanders and Brooklynites deserve someone to protect them from the government controlling their bodies, not a representative who calls ab*rtion rights” barbaric “and votes to allow states to prohibit ab*rtion even in the event of rape, incest, and when the mother’s life is at risk, “he said.” We’ve delivered the bill and hope he’ll read it. “
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