Salazar upsets Shalala in rematch

Gary Fineout

Republican Maria Elvira Salazar scored an upset over Democratic Rep. Donna Shalala on Tuesday in a rematch that Shalala had been projected to win.

Salazar received more than 51.4 percent of the vote to Shalala‘s 48.6 percent, according the Associated Press.

Shalala’s path to re-election was derailed by a surge of Cuban American and Republican voters in Miami-Dade County who turned out in a wave to vote for President Donald Trump. Trump had endorsed Salazar days before the election, calling Shalala “a puppet of Nancy Pelosi.”

Salazar’s victory was a surprise even to veteran Miami-Dade observers, some of whom had predicted a Shalala victory earlier Tuesday.

Shalala, a former university president and secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton, defeated Salazar just two years ago.

Background: Florida’s 27th congressional district sits within Miami-Dade County. Shalala won the seat after Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen retired.