MIAMI — Donna Shalala, the former Health and Human Services secretary and president of the University of Miami, is running as a Democrat for the congressional seat vacated by retiring Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.
According to Federal Election Commission paperwork filed Monday, Shalala, 77, will run in Florida’s 27th district, which includes much of Miami Beach, downtown Miami and coastal Miami-Dade County.
Shalala, who has never run for elected office, has taught a political science class at the University of Miami since stepping down in April as president of the Clinton Foundation. She was president of the university for 14 years.
Fernand Amandi, a pollster and political consultant advising Shalala, told the Miami Herald she plans to speak about her candidacy later this week. Shalala had been considering running for Congress, and decided to declare her intentions after the newspaper reported that a poll in late January showed her far ahead in the Democratic field of candidates.
Ros-Lehtinen was the first Cuban-American elected to Congress in 1988. Now 64, she announced last April that she would retire at the end of this term after 30 years in the heavily Democratic district. Ros-Lehtinen won re-election by 10 percentage points in 2016, even as Hillary Clinton defeated Donald Trump by 20 percentage points in the district.