Editor’s Note: Max Rose conceded to Nicole Malliotakis on Nov. 12. 

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -The swing district of Staten Island and Southern Brooklyn has become a political boxing ring, with incumbent Max Rose and Republican Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis fighting to represent it.

As CBS2’s Jessica Layton reports, both camps have been criticized for spending more time flinging insults than focusing on the issues – and there are plenty, especially in the COVID pandemic.

“So much at stake. From our small businesses to peoples’ actual lives,” Rose said.

“I would say pubic safety is the number one issue in this campaign,” Malliotakis said.

We asked both candidates where they stand on police reform.

“I do think it’s absolutely essential we stand against defunding the police,” Rose said. “We’ve got to invest in our police officers… make sure they have most state of the art technology so they can continue to build trust with the community.”

“Max supported eliminating bail, de Blasio’s plan to close Rikers,” Malliotakis said. “And then he voted to allow the AG to revoke and suspend funding to police departments if they didn’t meet a bunch of demands set by the house Democrats.”

Rose,  an army veteran, is only the second Democrat to represent the 11th congressional district in three decades.

“This district needs somebody that’s willing to stand up to both parties and is capable of getting things done,” Rose said.

Malliotakis, who lost in her bid to unseat Mayor Bill de Blasio last election but carried Staten Island, has served in the state legislature since 2010.

“I’m the law and order candidate who stands up for the hard working taxpayers of this community,” she said.

In a race that could go down to the wire, every door knock, every conversation, could make the difference.

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