Dr. Donna E. Shalala, a former university administrator and President Clinton’s cabinet secretary, is one step closer to a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives after beating Florida state Rep. David Richardson in the Democrat primary on Tuesday.
Dr. Donna E. Shalala
In her first run for elected office, Shalala, 77, is angling for the 27th District seat vacated by the retiring Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Republican. Political observers are watching the contest closely because the district traditionally has voted Republican and is trending Democratic. Voters in the district went for Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, and Democrat Hillary Clinton won there by 20 percentage points in her failed presidential bid against Donald Trump in 2016.
Other contests are drawing attention to the Sunshine State as Democrats try to reach majority numbers in the House and Senate and Republicans try to retain control of both chambers in November’s mid-term elections.
Meanwhile, Andrew Gillum, the African-American mayor of Tallahassee, won the Democratic nomination for governor and will face off against Trump-backed Republican nominee Ron DeSantis, R-Fla. in November.
After serving as Secretary of Health and Human Services during all eight years of President Bill Clinton’s administration, Shalala went on to become chancellor of the University of Wisconsin–Madison and then president of the University of Miami from 2001 through 2015, when she was named chief executive officer of the Clinton Foundation. She currently serves as Trustee Professor of Political Science and Health Policy at the University of Miami.
Shalala, who formally declared her candidacy in March, has lived in Coral Gables and Pinecrest for 17 years. The Cleveland native was one of the first Peace Corps volunteers and has a bachelor’s degree from Western College for Women and a Ph.D. from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University.