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Miami Politician Loses Herald Endorsement to Candidate "Abducted by Aliens"

From 1992 through 1998, Bruno Barreiro served in the Florida House of Representatives. From 1998 until this year, he was a Miami-Dade County commissioner.

In that time, Barreiro did such a remarkably poor job, was so universally reviled, and was so routinely ridiculed for being a dunce that the Miami Herald this weekend declined to endorse him in his race for central Miami's open congressional seat. Instead, the Herald delivered ol' Bruno arguably the saddest blow in his political career: Instead of endorsing him, the newspaper's editorial board selected Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera, a candidate who stands by her claims that she was once abducted by aliens. 

In 2009, Rodriguez Aguilera appeared on the Spanish-language program Experiencias Extradimensionales (Extradimensional Experiences), in which she said she zoomed around the universe with three giant, blond beings in a quartz-powered spaceship. She also said the aliens, who resembled Brazil's Christ the Redeemer statue, told her there are 30,000 "nonhuman" skulls hidden in Maltese caves, the "energy center" of the world exists in Africa, and South Miami-Dade's mysterious Coral Castle was built by aliens.

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She stands by the experience. And the Herald endorsed her Sunday.

The Herald's editorial board members are not exactly known for progressivism (honestly, the board should apologize for repeatedly propping up Marco Rubio's career), but Rodriguez Aguilera's endorsement in the District 27 congressional race ranks as one of the most bizarre newspaper editorial-board decisions in recent history. Check out the logical gymnastics the Herald had to pull here:

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.

Yes, the question of whether a political candidate has a lucid, functioning brain is, indeed, a nonissue in the Herald's eyes! Other news outlets, including Newsweek and the Washington Post, are already poking fun at Miami's daily paper.

This Republican race to replace outgoing Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is more of an indictment of the Barreiro family dynasty than a story of any other candidate's success. Despite his nearly 30-year career in Florida politics, elections analysts are either ignoring Barreiro or insulting him for being a stooge. He is, after all, the county commissioner most responsible for the Marlins Park debacle that handed a downright heinous sum of money to Miami Marlins owner and Mammonic demon lord Jeffrey Loria. Barreiro did so many obvious favors for his rich developer pals while he was a commissioner that New Times once compiled a handy list of the most ridiculous cases.

Bizarrely, the Herald did not endorse Maria Elvira Salazar, the former CNN, Univision, and Telemundo reporter who appears to be the race's Republican frontrunner. The Herald also passed over Angie Chirino, who has basically nothing to run on minus the fact she's the daughter of Cuban pop star Willy Chirino. Importantly, these two candidates do not claim they were kidnapped by extraterrestrials.

Instead, in what we wish was a joke, the Herald's team of editorial savants endorsed Rodriguez Aguilera because, in their words, she is a "strong candidate in the race with plausible conservative ideas" who was once the vice mayor of Doral. She apparently wants to cut taxes and make student loans more affordable. Woo-hoo.

"While Barreiro and Salazar appear to be saving their ammunition for the general election, for her boots-on-the-ground ideas and experience, the Herald recommends BETTINA RODRIGUEZ AGUILERA in the Republican primary for Congressional District 27," the editorial reads.

Of course, Rodriguez Aguilera's alien-abduction story is extremely bonkers, and she still stands by it, which, by New Times' estimation, either precludes her from being endorsed by anyone or should make her eligible for president of Earth because, if the story is true, she could be the One True Leader who unites humans against a future alien invasion. Honestly, getting passed up for this Herald endorsement in favor of a candidate who might be legitimately crazier than Alex Jones is the fate Barreiro deserves.

Plus, even if you ignore the whole blond-alien thing, Rodriguez Aguilera's allegedly "experienced" campaign seems to be in a shambles. Just look at this campaign flyer she tweeted out, which looks like it was designed by a child with an expired eyeglass prescription:

The Herald's absurd endorsement here also undercuts the newspaper's own reporters, who broke the alien-abduction story, which was a warning to most sane readers that Rodriguez Aguilera might be insane. Instead, the newspaper is endorsing her now. It's also worth noting the weak GOP field here basically guarantees a Democrat will win this race, especially because the district voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.

So allow New Times to go one step further: The aliens actually sound kinda cool. They've figured out quartz-powered space travel, which seems carbon-neutral! They also seem to have extremely advanced knowledge of ancient human history and terrestrial geology. Plus they sound stylish.

For their boots-in-the-stars experience, New Times recommends THE GIANT BLOND ALIENS in the Republican primary for Congressional District 27. Just anyone except Bruno Barreiro.

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