Commercial space has entered into the race for the Florida congressional District 8 as Gabriel Rothblatt, a Democrat who is attempting to unseat republican Rep. Bill Posey, released a video on Tuesday touting his support for what he calls “new space.” He suggested that more efforts should be made to attract commercial space companies to Florida’s space coast, the theory being that the age of NASA dominated space travel is now over. He also touted the concept of a space plane, a prototype that is being developed by DARPA, which could fly to orbit daily.
Rothblatt comes to the race with an interesting resume. He has worked as a manager of a Pizza restaurant and as an insurance broker. However he is also a pastor of a new age religion called Terasem Faith, founded by his parents, which touts the reconciliation of God with modern science and technology. One of the doctrines of the religion is to record ones thoughts and feelings in preparation to making a digital copy of oneself. The idea is that in the far future, a copy of oneself can be uploaded to a robot body long after one is dead.
Rothblatt’s political opponent, the incumbent Rep. Bill Posey, a Republican, is no slouch when it comes to supporting space. He is the cosponsor of a bill called Re-Asserting American Leadership in Space Act that would mandate an American return to the moon, reversing President Obama’s cancellation of that effort. He also touts his support for commercial space in another bill he has sponsored that would help commercial companies access underutilized government launch facilities.
Rothblatt’s campaign, according to USA Today, is being financed by his millionaire father, Martine Rothblatt, through a superpac called SpacePac, The older Rothblatt, who was born Martin Rothblatt but has since undergone gender reassignment surgery and self identifies as a woman, is the founder of Sirius Satellite Radio and the CEO of United Therapeutics. Due to campaign finance rules, the candidate cannot communicate with his father for fear of being accused of “coordinating” with the Superpac.
Rothblatt is considered a long shot candidate in any case. Posey enjoys a 13 to one fund raising advantage over his Democratic opponents. District 8 is considered reliably Republican after the most recent redistricting.