(WSVN) - Voters will be heading to the polls next month to voice their choice in a tight race for a congressional seat. The politician who has held it for many years is ready to retire. 7’s Joe Roetz has a closer look at District 27.

As Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen prepares her exit from Congress after nearly 30 years, the race is on to replace her in the 27th District — a densely populated slice of coast spanning from Miami Beach to Key Biscayne and Coral Gables.

Democrat Donna Shalala and Republican Maria Elvira Salazar are leading the pack of three.

Maria Elvira Salazar, 27th District candidate: “They know me, I know them, I am them. I am a product of the ultimate melting pot called Miami.”

Donna Shalala, 27th District candidate: “This is about who can deliver for the community, and who has spent a career delivering for Miami.”

“Hurricane Donna” — as she refers to herself — is a deeply connected Democrat dating back to the Clinton era when she served as the president’s Health and Human Services director, and as the president of the University of Miami.

Donna Shalala: “I have a record of contributing to the community, whether it’s homeless or early childhood education or education, higher education or healthcare.”

Shalala downplays her connection to the Clinton Foundation, once accused of accepting foreign donations from dignitaries pursuing interests in the United States, saying her time with the foundation was limited.

Donna Shalala: “That foundation has the highest ranking of any foundation in the United States. They’ve done wonderful work.”

Her Republican challenger, former journalist Maria Elvira Salazar is working to turn viewers into voters. Here at Versailles Restaurant in Miami’s Little Havana neighborhood, she had a chance to push her platform, one she says focuses heavily on South Florida’s economy.

Maria Elvira Salazar: “The stock market is going up. Your 401 (k) is doing better. I don’t wanna change that course.”

As for education…

Maria Elvira Salazar: “Not everybody needs to go to a university, but everyone needs an employable skill, and that is what Washington offers you, and I am going to go get it.”

Also on the ticket is Mayra Joli.

Mayra Joli, 27th District candidate: “I am every woman, and I represent what it is to be an American and proud to be an American.”

Running under no party affiliation, the pro-Trump candidate and immigration attorney said she is a product of the American dream and believes in the president’s style of governing.

Mayra Joli: “He’s not promising to give you, he’s promising to help you go and get it, and that’s what we need. We don’t need a country waiting to be fed.”

As Democrats look to flip the District 27 seat from Republicans, reports suggest it may be an uphill climb.

The one thing weighing in their favor: one Republican candidate and another pro-Trump candidate could split the vote, giving Democrats an edge.


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Website for Maria Elvira Salazar:

Website for Donna Shalala

Website for Mayra Joli

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