A frontrunner in the Republican primaries for a key midterm race says she was abducted by aliens as a child—and it doesn’t seem to have hurt her prospects.
Bettina Rodriguez Aguilera, an educator, businesswoman, and former city council member, is running in the Republican primary in Florida’s 27th district, which includes part of Miami. Along with two other frontrunners, Maria Elvira Salazar and Bruno Barreiro, Aguilera is one of the best-known candidates in the primary. She even secured an endorsement from the Miami Herald, the same newspaper in which Aguilera recounted being abducted by aliens as a child.
“I saw three creatures when I was 7 and I’ve seen them like five or six more times when they came back,” Aguilera said in a 2009 interview, which was posted on YouTube. “Telepathically they told me to come out. I went out and saw a round spaceship. I entered and there were some round seats and quartz pieces that they used to steer the ship.”
Aguilera describes the beings—two women and a man, she says—as tall, human-like, blond and buxom. In another interview, also posted on YouTube, Aguilera went into further details about her experiences with alien beings, who she said reminded her of Jesus Christ.
When Aguilera launched her campaign last year, the Miami Herald dug up the old interviews and asked the GOP hopeful about them. She told them that she “joins the majority of Americans who believe that there must be intelligent life in the billions of planets and galaxies in the universe,” and referenced other prominent politicians—such as President Ronald Reagan—who had claimed to have seen UFOs.
Still, this week the Herald endorsed Aguilera in the GOP race, which goes to the polls at the end of the month, citing her “working class agenda” platform and experience as a council member. Her on her campaign she has stated that she intends to have domestic violence offenses added to the national gun registry and having the student loan debt declared a national crisis.
Recent polls in the district have found that most voters are undecided on the GOP primary, which will take place on August 28. This district will be a hotly contested race in the midterms. There is no incumbent—Republican Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is retiring—and the district was one of 25 Republican-held US House districts that Hillary Clinton won in the 2016 presidential election, making it an even harder race to predict.
The fact that one of the GOP’s best bets may or may not have at one point be about an alien spaceship only makes it tougher still.