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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The race for the 27th Congressional District is pitting former University of Miami President Donna Shalala against a political newcomer.

Shalala is the Democrat in the race and the Republican is Maria Elvira Salazar.

Salazar is a veteran Spanish language television journalist making her first run for public office.

Salazar did well in the Republican primary, beating Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro by 15 points. She even got more votes than Democrat Donna Shalala got on the Democratic side.

Spanish language TV viewers know Salazar from her three decade career on television, but she’s an unknown to the English speaking community. Still, she says she associates with everyone in South Florida.

“I am part of this community,” she said. “We are the ultimate melting pot. I went to school with the whites, with the blacks, with the Jews, with the Cubans, and then after that with the Columbians and the Central Americans. Everybody escapes and comes to Miami, so I am a product of this beautiful and ultimate melting pot.”

Some people argue that a television journalist isn’t qualified to be in congress but she is quick to show how that works to her strength.

“Knowing the topics if half of the battle,” she explained. “I asked very tough questions [as a journalist], I understood the topics and I gave very good analysis. I think that’s why the viewers turned into voters.”

Salazar’s full interview on CBS4 can be seen above.

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