Republican Maria Elvira Salazar Beats Democrat Donna Shalala in Florida

November 4, 2020 Updated: November 4, 2020

Maria Elvira Salazar has won the U.S. House seat for Florida’s 27th Congressional district, beating incumbent Rep. Donna Shalala (D-Fla.).

Shalala, considered one of Miami’s top politicians, unexpectedly lost the race to former TV journalist Salazar.

Salazar flipped a district generally considered Democratic, winning 54.1 percent, or 175,081 votes, against Shalala, who previously served under President Bill Clinton as secretary of Health and Human Services.

Shalala, a former president of the University of Miami for 14 years, held the majority vote in the district in 2018, but this year lost her seat with 165,670 votes.

Florida Democratic Congressional candidate Donna Shalala
Florida Democratic Congressional candidate Donna Shalala attends a protest at Miami International Airport in Miami, Fla. on Oct. 2, 2018. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The district includes Miami Beach, Coral Gables, Kendall, and Key Biscayne.

Florida Democrats were expecting to win this seat for a second term after Shalala’s victory in 2018.

Salazar has sharply criticized Shalala for failing to report several stock sales, and also depicted her as an out-of-touch millionaire linked to self-described democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

“I will not be silenced,” said Salazar while declaring victory. “I will not cower to the mob and when faced with the so-called democratic socialists. I will tell them that we have seen the dogma in action already and it doesn’t work.”

Salazar said she was honored to officially accept the position of congresswoman for District 27.

“I will be the one going to Washington but your goals are my mission and the future of your kids is my fight,” she said.

One of the issues Salazar said she will focus on is improving pay for Hispanics and African Americans.

Salazar posted a video on Twitter on that said, “Thank you for your vote & support.”

Her official website says “she’s running for Congress to stop socialism from ever coming and ruining America.”

Salazar’s career as a Spanish-speaking journalist spans over three decades working as news anchor on Telemundo, CNN Español, and Univision. She has interviewed a host of political leaders including Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, former President of Colombia Alvaro Uribe, former Prime Minister of Spain Jose Maria Aznar, and former President of Mexico Vicente Fox.