Shalala, Salazar in tight race to replace Ros-Lehtinen in Congress

Former UM president faces off against ex-Spanish-language journalist

MIAMI – The gloves are off in the fight for Florida’s 27th Congressional District, a seat now open after longtime Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen announced her retirement.

Democrat Donna Shalala served as Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Clinton Administration, was the president of the University of Miami, and told Local 10 she knows how to reach across the aisle. 

"The assault weapons ban, the children's health insurance plan, the privacy regulations. Over and over again, I've delivered bipartisan legislation -- I know how to do it. I know how to deliver for the people of South Florida," Shalala said.

Former Spanish-language broadcast journalist Maria Elvira Salazar has been a longtime political correspondent now running as a Republican. She said she has the better ground game to get votes.

"(My) strategy is to keep on touching voters, I am visiting every sector of my district, and things are going really well," Salazar said.

A pro-Salazar political action committee slammed Shalala for not speaking Spanish in a recently released radio ad.

Shalala's campaign has criticized Salazar for aligning herself with President Donald Trump.

And the two disagree on many policy issues. On the economy, Salazar said she would make the Trump tax cuts permanent. Shalala said she would invest in infrastructure and education. On immigration, each blames the other party for getting it wrong.

"President Obama promised on Spanish television that we were going to have an immigration reform law the first year of his presidency. We got a bone called 'DACA executive order,'" Salazar said.

Shalala countered: "The Republicans stopped them from getting major immigration reform. The Republicans clearly do not want immigration reform where we give people a pathway to citizenship."


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