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Democrat Shalala picks up GOP open seat in Florida
Democratic congressional candidate Donna Shalala celebrates her victory during an election night watch party in Coral Gables, Fla. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

Democrat Donna Shalala defeated Republican Maria Elvira Salazar in Florida’s 27th Congressional District, flipping a Republican seat and providing a boost to Democrats hoping to regain control of the House.

The seat, currently held by retiring Republican Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, was considered Shalala’s to lose after Hillary Clinton carried the Miami district in 2016 by 20 points.

But Shalala’s campaign had its missteps — including inviting to the district Democratic congresswoman Barbara Lee (Calif.), who in 2016 said Cuban dictator Fidel Castro should be mourned — causing Democrats to worry that they would miss a key pickup opportunity.

Midterm election updates: Reaction and results

Democrats took the House, Republicans held the Senate, and key races around the country were still too close to call.

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