Happy Election Day to US readers. Hope you all are already sporting your “I voted” stickers.
While we won’t know results for hours (or even days), these are the close races among space committee members that we’ll be watching as results roll in (with predictions c/o FiveThirtyEight and Cook Political Report):
- Rep. Pat Ryan (D-NY) and Rep. Steven Horsford (D-NV), members of the House Armed Services (HASC) Strat Forces subcommittee, have slight leads over GOP challengers. Horsford is seen as an up-and-coming nat sec space voice.
- NASA approps leader Rep. Matt Cartwright’s (D-PA) has a small edge in a very close race. So too does fellow committee member Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA).
On the other side of Capitol Hill, two races could play a key role in deciding which party controls the Senate:
- Sen. Raphael Warnock (D-GA), a member of the Senate science and space subcommittee, is locked in a dead heat with former pro football player Herschel Walker.
- Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ), the lone astronaut serving in Congress and a member of the Senate’s military space subcommittee, is only slightly favored to win his race against Blake Masters.
Power struggle: Tuesday’s biggest question mark is which party will control the House and Senate. The GOP looks likely to win the House, which would put some new faces atop the space committees.
- Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) intends to seek the gavel of the HASC Strat Forces panel if Republicans take the House. His top priorities include disaggregated constellations and responsive space, in addition to hypersonics, nuclear modernization, and early missile warning.
- Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX), the top GOP member on the House space subcommittee who also represents NASA Johnson, has prioritized America’s return to human spaceflight and also worked on multiple bills to boost the commercial space industry.
- Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL), top R on the House appropriations subcommittee, is an advocate for Alabama’s space industry, including NASA Marshall in Huntsville.
One (big) caveat: Regardless of election outcome, we won’t know committee leadership for sure until early 2023.
- Lamborn, Babin, and Aderholt have been deeply involved in space issues, but seniority considerations mean each could move to a leadership role on another committee if the House flips.
- If the Senate flips—which is virtually a coin flip at this point—new lawmakers would hold the gavel in the upper chamber as well.