raising questions

Max Rose’s Cross-Country Joint Fund Push Skirts Impeachment Talk

Max Rose stops by a Staten Island diner during his 2018 congressional campaign.
Max Rose stops by a Staten Island diner during his 2018 congressional campaign. Photo: Ben Fractenberg/THE CITY

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Freshmen Reps. Max Rose (D-Brooklyn/Staten Island) and Katie Porter (D-Calif.) represent opposite coasts, but they have some big things in common.

Both defeated Republicans in traditional GOP strongholds last year. Both face tough reelection fights.

Now they’re fundraising together to hold on to power as impeachment proceedings grip Washington and divide their districts, along with the nation. But their pitch doesn’t mention the “I” word.

Rose and Porter sent an email blast to supporters Monday in an effort to raise cash off of an anti-corruption measure the two introduced. The bill would mandate deeper transparency from political appointees and family members of the president and vice president.

“We know the political consequences of this work: More attacks from dark money and special interest groups who don’t like that we’re taking them on,” reads the plea from the first-term Democrats.

Donors are invited to split their contributions between the candidates as they choose.

Noticeably missing from the missive, which went out the day the House Judiciary Committee took over impeachment proceedings, was any mention of President Donald Trump’s woes.

Both Rose and Porter resisted calls to back House impeachment hearings before ultimately relenting under pressure within their party.

Trump Borough and Nixon Country

Rose represents New York City’s only borough where a majority cast votes to elect Trump.

Porter represents Orange County, a historically Republican zone once known as “Nixon Country.” A former law professor, Porter has quickly built a national profile with appearances on “Real Time With Bill Maher.”

A spokesperson for Rose’s campaign declined to comment on the joint fundraising email or provide names of any other Democrats that Rose has campaigned or fundraised with.

A spokesperson for Porter’s campaign didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) is fundraising with Rep. Max Rose (D-Staten Island, Brooklyn).
Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) is fundraising with Rep. Max Rose (D-Staten Island, Brooklyn). Photo: Katie Porter for Congress

Political observers on Staten Island told THE CITY that, unlike most other members of  New York City’s local House delegation, Rose can’t afford to linger on impeachment or Trump if he wants to win in 2020.

Rose faces a challenge from Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis (R-Staten Island/Brooklyn).

While Rose has more money on hand than his rival — $1.66 million in his campaign coffers as of Sept. 30, while Malliotakis is sitting on $600,000 — he can take no chances, local politicos said.

“In a purple district like Staten Island and south Brooklyn, you have to be able to reach people of all kinds of political persuasion, and I think focusing on the issue of corruption cements all sides of the political divide,” said Jack Keller, a Staten Island-based political operative with Casali-Keller Consulting who’s worked on several borough-wide campaigns

Rose and Porter were two of 41 Democrats who took formerly Republican congressional seats in 2018, winning their party the House majority.

The Cook Political Report calls Rose’s race as a “toss up” in 2020, while Porter’s race is rated as “lean Democrat.”

Save the S.I. Yankees

As Democrats prepare to vote on articles of impeachment, Rose has taken pains to train his attention on local issues.

Last Wednesday, while neighboring New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler took the gavel at impeachment hearings, Rose announced his task force to “save minor league baseball.” Major League Baseball is looking to eliminate dozens of minor league teams — including the Staten Island Yankees.

Last week, Rose invited Staten Islanders to his district office in New Dorp to tout $1.2 million in recovered Social Security benefits, 9/11 victim compensation funds and veterans’ benefits.

“A lot of his energy will be directed towards constituents-based politics,” said Richard Flanagan, a political science professor at the College of Staten Island. “That will be the chord he’s striking on his piano.”

Rose, who took out the city’s last Republican member of Congress in an upset last November, was the last House Democrat in New York City to come out in favor of an impeachment inquiry.

The 31-year-old Army veteran ended his holdout in early October at a packed town hall after he was blasted by grassroot groups on Staten Island.

Flanagan suggested Rose’s reversal won’t stop the pressure as a House impeachment vote approaches — and in its aftermath.

“When he goes out, people will be asking about the impeachment,” said Flanagan. “The restive public in a campaign year will want to hear more about that one, and he’s going to get it in on both sides.”

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