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Staten Island and a chunk of South Brooklyn will decide whether to keep or replace New York City's lone congressional Republican on Tuesday.
Polls have Republican Rep. Dan Donovan and Democratic challenger Max Rose within single digits of each other.
Voters at Rose's polling place on Tuesday — including some who voted for President Donald Trump — told INSIDER they support Rose in large part because they want a check on Trump.
Staten Island has long been New York City's most conservative borough. Some New Yorkers like to think of it as more akin to New Jersey than the Big Apple.
But Staten Islanders and a chunk of South Brooklyn will decide on Tuesday whether to break from tradition and replace New York City's lone Republican in Congress with a Democrat.
Their choice is between incumbent Republican Rep. Dan Donovan, who has tacked toward the center since seeking President Donald Trump's endorsement in his contentious primary, and Max Rose, a 31-year-old Army veteran and former health care executive who's framing himself as an independent voice. Recent polls have the candidates within single digits of each other.
Issues that came up in conversations with Staten Island voters on Tuesday: traffic congestion, the opioid crisis, and reining in the president.
Read more: Here's what a dozen voters in one of the country's most competitive Senate races think about politics right now
Trump won Staten Island by 17 points, despite the fact that registered Democrats outnumber Republicans on the island by nearly two-to-one.
One such voter, Steven Gross — a 51-year-old dad of two who has lived on Staten Island all his life — cast his ballot for Trump in 2016 despite being a registered Democrat, but voted for Rose on Tuesday because he wants to see a check on the president.
"I don't want to let him do everything that he wants to do," he said in an interview with INSIDER at his Staten Island polling place, PS 16, on Tuesday.
Stephen Gross is a registered Democrat and lifelong Staten Islander who voted for Trump. He’s supporting Democrat @MaxRose4NY for Congress over incumbent Republican @dandonovan_ny. “I’m worried about imbalance in the House and making sure Trump doesn’t always get his way.” pic.twitter.com/VqLmr4TpSh — Eliza Relman (@eliza_relman) November 6, 2018
SEE ALSO: Here's what a dozen voters in one of the country's most competitive Senate races think about politics right now
"I voted straight Democrat, but I'm an independent."
Charlie Sauss — a 70-year-old musician and Vietnam vet — called Tuesday's elections "probably the most important election in my lifetime" and said he "reluctantly" voted for Rose "because he's a Democrat, and that's it."
He added that "in any other year" he would have voted for Donovan, who he generally likes, but this year he wants to see "everything flipped."
"I voted straight Democrat, but I'm an independent," he said, calling Trump a "devil." "I didn't care who they were, what name was on there, I voted for Democrats."
Sauss said Rose's abundant advertising and constant mention of his military experience has irritated him.
"He mentions the Army too much and I find it offensive," Sauss said. "How many times is he gonna say it and in how many ways?"
"You can't give [Trump] free rein."
William Castillo — a Vietnam veteran who grew up in Brooklyn — moved to Staten Island a year ago after he lost his home in Puerto Rico during Hurricane Maria, where he lived for the previous 33 years.
His biggest concern is the cost of living — particularly housing — and he said he doesn't trust Trump primarily because he's a real estate mogul.
On Trump, Castillo says, "You can't give him free rein."
"[Trump]'s very racist."
Brenda and Luis Carazas, siblings and students at the College of Staten Island who moved to New York from Peru in 2006 and are both new US citizens, had nothing good to say about Trump.
"He's very racist," said Brenda, a 21-year-old independent. "He's not a typical president."
Luis, 19, said he and his sister voted for Rose because he'd shake things up.
"The younger image — it brings more attitude to it," Luis said.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider