Ileana Ros-Lehtinen was elected to the U.S. House in 1989, defeating Gerald Richman with 53 percent of the vote. She was re-elected in 1990 with 78 percent of the vote, defeating Democrat Bill Anscher. She won re-election in 1992 with 67 percent of the vote, defeating Democrat Magda Davis. Ros-Lehtinen was unopposed in 1994, 1996 and 1998 and had only a write-in opponent in 2000.
In 2002, she defeated Marathon retiree May Chote in the Republican primary with 89 percent of the vote. In the general election she defeated Chote's husband, Democrat Ray Chote, with 69 percent of the vote. The Chotes are former Reform Party activists.
Ros-Lehtinen served eight years in the Florida Legislature, four years in the House and four in the Senate, from 1982 to 1989.