Shalala to face off against Salazar for Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's seat

Which woman will emerge to take over US House District 27?

MIAMI – Donna Shalala and Maria Elvira Salazar will continue campaigning for the U.S. House Florida District 27 seat after winning Tuesday's primary election. 

One of the two women will succeed retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a moderate Republican who held the seat for 28 years. The district covers the cities of Miami, Miami Beach and Coral Gables and parts of Miami-Dade County. 


With 31.90 percent of the vote, the best-known Democratic candidate beat out former Miami Beach Commissioner Kristen Rosen Gonzalez, former Miami Herald reporter Matt Haggman, former UM academic adviser Michael Hepburn and David Richardson, Florida's first openly gay state representative.

"This is a historic time for our country and it's very important that we take over the House of Representatives," Shalala, 77, said while celebrating in Miami's Little Havana. "Bipartisanship helps, single parties do not."

The former president of the University of Miami was the candidate with the most name recognition. She also served as former President Bill Clinton's Health and Human Services Secretary for eight years. 



With 40.51 percent of the vote, the Cuban-American journalist defeated Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, former Doral Commissioner Bettina Rodriguez-Aguilera, Republican political consultant Stephen Marks, children’s advocate Angie Chirino, doctoral student Elizabeth Adadi, Michael Ohevzion, Maria Peiro and real estate agent Gina Sosa. 

"The ones who were my viewers now became my voters," Salazar, 56, said while celebrating with Ros-Lehtinen and Lincoln Diaz-Balart in Miami's Little Havana. 

Salazar, a graduate from the University of Miami, earned a master's in public administration from Havard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.  



Experts on This Week in South Florida have said Democrats are heavily favored to take the district, which voted for Hillary Clinton by almost 20 points in 2016. The race is key to Democrats' hopes of taking control of the House in November.

About the Authors: