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Journalist Maria Elvira Salazar joins GOP race for Ros-Lehtinen's seat


@alextdaugherty @newsbysmiley

Miami broadcast journalist Maria Elvira Salazar is jumping into the Republican race for retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen's seat. 

“We all want a better country for our children, so we need to rise above the political rhetoric and divisions that are tearing our communities apart, and have the courage to respect and listen to others, even if we don’t agree," Salazar said in a statement. "That is democracy at its best." 

Ros-Lehtinen encouraged Salazar and other Republican candidates to join the race for months to drum up enthusiasm in the Republican primary.

“The district is totally winnable for the right candidate,” Ros-Lehtinen said late last year. “She could be the right candidate.”

Miami-Dade commissioner Bruno Barreiro is the only announced GOP candidate who has so far raised enough money for a viable campaign operation, though two newcomers, Ariadna Balaguer and Angie Chirino, have entered the GOP race since the last filing deadline.

Democrats are favored to flip Ros-Lehtinen's seat after Hillary Clinton trounced Donald Trump in the district that encompasses most of coastal Miami-Dade County in 2016. Six Democratic candidates have raised over $100,000, while Barreiro is the only Republican to have done so. 

Salazar was a news anchor for Miami-based MEGATV, and she previously hosted her political news show called "Maria Elvira Live." A bio provided by her campaign said Salazar was "the first and ONLY
U.S. Spanish-language television journalist to obtain a one-on-one interview with Fidel Castro during his
50 years in power."