Tags: 2018 Midterm Elections | donna shalala | democrat | florida | ageism | house | majority

Dem Shalala, 77, Will Be Second-Oldest House Freshman Ever

florida democrat donna shalala answers a question during and interview
Florida Democrat Donna Shalala (Tom Williams/AP)

Tuesday, 06 November 2018 09:18 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Democrats won a key race in Florida as Donna Shalala, secretary of Health and Human Services under Bill Clinton, won the 27th Congressional District (Miami) that was vacated by 15-term Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen, R-Fla.

Shalala, a champion of big government programs, defeated Republican and TV anchor Maria Elvira Salazar 51-45 percent. 

At 77, Shalala will now become the second-oldest freshman U.S. Representative in history.

The oldest was Illinois Democrat Jim Bowler, who was elected at age 78 in a 1953 special election.

In 1906, Bowler and fellow machine Democrat Adolph Sabath had been vying for nomination to an open seat. Upon realizing the two contenders were deadlocked among the Cook County (Chicago) Democratic Committee, Sabath and Bowler decided to flip a coin. The winner would get the nomination and the loser would get the seat the next time it was open.

So, Sabath won the coin toss and went on to serve until his death in 1953 (when he was chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee). Area Democrats promptly nominated Bowler, a senior member of the Chicago Board of Aldermen, and he won the special election.

Surrounded by colleagues as he was sworn in on the House floor, Bowler was repeatedly asked why he wanted to be a freshman congressman at 78.

He is reported to have replied: "Because I lost the coin toss, and it was my turn."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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At 77, Democrat Donna Shalala will now become the second-oldest freshman U.S. Representative in history, as she flipped Florida's 27th Congressional District, Newsmax John Gizzi reports.
donna shalala, democrat, florida, ageism, house, majority
Tuesday, 06 November 2018 09:18 PM
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