For an hour Tuesday night, Republican Rep. Dan Donovan traded barbs and accusations with his Democratic challenger, Max Rose, in our live debate. In a race that could be pivotal in deciding which party will control Congress in 2019, we checked some of the facts.
Claim: Max Rose moved to the district only two years ago
Fact: He has lived inside the district for almost four years
"He moved here to run for Congress," Donovan said in the debate. "He moved to this district two years ago."
"That is absurd," Rose said.
Technically, the Rose campaign says the Democrat moved to Staten Island almost three years ago. He has lived inside the district for almost four years.
Claim: Rose says he raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from inside the district
Fact: It's just a bit under $200,000
"Let's get the facts straight," Rose said. "I have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from in this district, and this most recent quarter I raised exponentially more, almost triple the number of donors from in-district as my opponent."
Donovan: 96 percent of my opponent's donations came from outside of this district.
Rose: That's just a lie. That's just a lie.
Well, NY1 checked the numbers.
Throughout his entire campaign so far, Rose has raised $190,566 from people living inside the district. So, not exactly hundreds of thousands of dollars. That cash came from 921 individual donors. All told, it represents just 6 percent of the money he raised from individual contributors.
Claim: Donovan said last year that climate change wasn't a man-made problem
Fact: He wouldn't weigh in on it in May, at least
"So listen, here is what we have to do: Max is right, there is climate change, it is man-made," Donovan during the debate.
"First of all, what we do is we try to consistently say that global warming is a man-made problem, not just in debates in 2018," Rose responded to his opponent. "A year ago, you said this wasn't a man-made problem."
Well, it was actually just a few months ago, when I asked him if he believed climate change was man-made:
"Our climate is changing. Our climate is always changing. We used to have an ice age," Donovan said, repeating some Republican talking points. "I think the debate is what is the impact that man has on it? What comes naturally?"
We had to press Donovan for an answer back in May on whether he thought climate change was man-made. At the time, he wouldn't weigh in:
Gross: Where do you fall on that debate, though?
Donovan: In which debate?
Gross: In the debate over whether man is contributing?
Donovan: I am not a scientist. I leave that to the scientists to debate and figure out. People have their opinion. I leave it to the people who are the experts.
Donovan's campaign did fire back in response to this story: A spokesperson said he has consistently said we have to believe the science.