Narrowly trailing Florida Republican Gov. Rick Scott in his bid for re-election, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) has sought a recount of votes. Nelson, who once flew aboard the space shuttle, has been a strong supporter of NASA and sits on the Senate Science Committee.
Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas), who is as strong of a backer of NASA exploring Europa as he is opposed to the space agency cooperating with China, has lost his bid for re-election as control of the House of Representatives shifts to the Democrats. He chairs the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, and Science.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), who is a strong supporter of commercial space, has also lost his bid for re-election. He is a member of the House Science Committtee that oversees NASA’s budget.
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) fought off a strong challenge from Democrat Beto O’Rouke to win reelection to the Senate, which will remain in Republican hands. Cruz chairs the Senate Space Subcommittee.
In the Antelope Valley, Republican Rep. Steve Knight lost his bid for a third term in the House. He is the son of the late William J. “Pete” Knight, a test pilot who flew the X-15 rocket plane in the 1960’s. Knight serves on the House Science Committee.
Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will continue to represent the northern part of the Antelope Valley. He will lose his position as House majority leader when the Democrats take over control of Congress in January.
Democrats have been more skeptical of the Trump Administration’s plan to create a Space Force as the sixth branch of the armed forces. It remains to be seen what effect Democratic control of the House will have on that plan.