Speed Reads

2018 elections

Florida Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, first Cuban-American elected to Congress, is retiring next year

On Sunday, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) announced she will not seek re-election to her Miami-area seat in 2018, handing Democrats a promising pick-up opportunity. Ros-Lehtinen beat her Democratic challenger in November by 10 points, even though Hillary Clinton won the newly redrawn 27th congressional district by 20 points. Ros-Lehtinen, 64, is the first Cuban-American and first Hispanic woman elected to Congress, and she's the longest-serving Floridian in Congress; Jeb Bush managed her first congressional campaign and Sen. Marco Rubio (R) was once her intern.

Ros-Lehtinen told the Miami Herald on Sunday that after 38 years in elected office, "it's time to take a new step." She said she had no doubt that she could win next year if she ran. Democrats need to win 24 more seats to take control of the House, and they seem pretty confident of their chances in the Florida 27th. Ros-Lehtinen is generally a defense hawk and to the left of her party on LGBTQ rights and on health care. She said she isn't retiring because of President Trump. "I've served under all kinds of different dynamics in all these years that I've been in office here," Ros-Lehtinen told the Miami Herald. "Though I don't agree with many, if not most, positions of President Trump."