Former Health and Human Services Secretary Donna Shalala on Tuesday won a Florida U.S. House seat long in Republican hands, switching the district to the Democrats.
Shalala, running for elective office for the first time at age 77, won the 27th District over former television journalist Maria Elvira Salazar. The district was represented for decades by GOP Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who is retiring.
Without mentioning President Donald Trump by name, Shalala had a clear message for the White House in her victory speech.
"Mr. President, here we come," she said to loud cheers. "Bringing us together is absolutely crucial. Some people would like to divide us. We just can't let that happen, because it's un-American."
Shalala was HHS secretary under President Bill Clinton. She also was president of the universities of Miami and Wisconsin and of the Clinton foundation.
Though Trump won Florida in the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton won Florida's 27th District by nearly 20 percentage points as the Democratic candidate. In 2012, the district favored former President Barack Obama over GOP nominee Mitt Romney by 7 percentage points.
According to a Mason-Dixon poll conducted for Telemundo 51 and released on Oct. 11, Elvira Salazar led 44 percent to 42 percent over Shalala.