Florida’s primary is coming up one week from today and the race for the GOP nomination in the 27th district has taken an interesting turn. There are a number of viable candidates in the field and the GOP has held the seat for decades. (The demographics have been shifting of late, however, so the race is seen as being more competitive.) The Miami Herald released their editorial endorsements for each party this weekend. They selected newcomer David Richardson for the Democrats, a seemingly safe choice. But on the Republican side, they picked Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera.

Rodriguez Aguilera also looks like a solid pick at first glance, having experience as a county legislator, a business consultant and a campaign trainer for female candidates. But the Herald was also quick to point out that she’s an “unusual” candidate in that she claims to not only believe in extraterrestrials but to have been abducted by them and taken aboard a spaceship as a child. (Miami Herald)

The Editorial Board was most impressed by Rodriguez Aguilera, now a business consultant.

We realize that Rodriguez Aguilera is an unusual candidate. Last year, she told the Miami Herald — and several Spanish-language media outlets — that she believes in extra-terrestrials. She says when she was 7, she was taken aboard a spaceship and, throughout her life, she has communicated telepathically with the beings, which remind her of the concrete Christ in Brazil. There you have it.

“This is a non-issue,” she told the Board. We agree. Her bona fides as a former elected official, and now a businesswoman who spends time in other countries training women to run for office are solid.

Rodriguez Aguilera is a strong candidate in the race with plausible conservative ideas. The daughter of a Cuban political prisoner, Rodriguez Aguilera became an activist, volunteering with the Cuban American National Foundation. She said that she was coached by its former leader, Jorge Mas Canosa, who taught her that, “If you don’t have a solution to a problem, don’t raise your hand to complain.”

The Hill has some additional details of the candidate’s testimony regarding her experience with the aliens. From her description, they sound like the “Nordics” which show up in many abductees’ stories rather than the more common “Grays.”

“I went in. There were some round seats that were there, and some quartz rocks that controlled the ship — not like airplanes,” Rodriguez said in the interview. She said she was visited by three large, blonde beings.

In a separate interview with the Herald last year, she said she joins “the majority of Americans who believe that there must be intelligent life in the billions of planets and galaxies in the universe.”

In some ways, it seems nice that the Miami Herald would write off Rodriguez Aguilera’s extraterrestrial experiences as a non-issue and focus on her qualifications and experience. And it’s certainly true that a significant number of Americans believe in the possibility of technologically advanced alien beings visiting the Earth. (Those numbers may have gone up a bit after the government recently released some footage of our Navy pilots chasing what certainly looked like a UFO of some sort.) So if that’s what she believes, why hold it against her?

But at the same time I find myself suspicious of the motives of the editorial board at the Herald. Are they really putting their weight behind Rodriguez Aguilera in the primary because they think she’s the best candidate? Or do they want the GOP to nominate someone who can readily be painted as a kook so they can help flip that seat from red to blue?

Maybe I’m being a bit too suspicious here. Discussions of extraterrestrial phenomena have certainly become more mainstream of late. But I’d still put my money on the newspaper trying to pull a fast one.