Max Rose’s bugaboo — and the example he cites for how both parties have let voters down — is the persistence of the carried-interest loophole, which allows wealthy bankers to report their income as capital gains. In a recent interview, Rose, who is running for New York’s 11th District seat, fumed that “a hedge-fund manager or private executive pays a lower tax rate than cops or firemen or teachers or anyone else in this diner right now. No one can justify it. Nobody.”
He was sitting in a busy restaurant on Staten Island, which makes up most of the 11th District. The district is represented by a Republican, Dan Donovan, who is favored to keep his seat. Rose, 31, claimed complete confidence that he’d stage an upset. He noted that although he was a political novice with little name recognition, he got more than 64 percent of the vote in a primary field of six Democrats.
Besides, Rose said, he’s a fighter. A former Army captain with a shaved head, a square jaw and rapid-fire speech, he led a platoon in Afghanistan when he was 26. He was awarded a Purple Heart after sustaining head and knee injuries there.
And he, like Houlahan, reflects a spirited crowd of veterans among first-time candidates. Many of these veterans seem to transcend partisanship. And Democratic leaders see them as a way to bridge the cultural divide between the party and more socially conservative voters in suburban, exurban and rural areas.