Ms. Malliotakis is as much against unauthorized immigration and universal health care as she is in favor of strengthening bail laws and protecting father-daughter dances. But some local Democrats say that she’s a reactionary ideological flip-flopper.
“She is someone who has changed everything she’s believed in every time she’s ever run for office,” said Kevin Elkins, a longtime adviser to Mr. Rose, whom Ms. Malliotakis defeated in November.
Mark Murphy, a local businessman and former Democratic congressional candidate in the district, said he wants Ms. Malliotakis to move to the middle to better speak for all residents. “I want her to dial back the hard-core conservative ideology that is driving her, and think about who we, as a community, really are,” Mr. Murphy said.
But Staten Island tends to vote Republican. In 2016 and 2020, it was the only borough in New York City that Mr. Trump won. Her base is expecting her to represent the sentiment of Trump voters in the district.
In an interview, Ms. Malliotakis praised the successes of Mr. Trump’s term, proof, in her eyes, that he deserved to be re-elected: improved health care for veterans, low unemployment numbers, renegotiated trade deals. “People didn’t even know about the good things because the other side has been so busy criticizing him and trying to impeach him and investigate him over the four years, which I think was very unfair,” she said.
Some believe that Ms. Malliotakis’s vote simply represented the wishes of a district that wanted to see Mr. Trump re-elected.
“I really do believe she had a mandate from her constituents, who also overwhelmingly voted to support Trump, to object to the election results, as well as vote against impeaching the president,” said Peter Giunta, president of the Staten Island Young Republican Club.