Polaris

Which Space Lawmakers Are Hitting the Campaign Trail in 2024

Image: Sen. Kyrsten Sinema

It’s 301 days until Election Day—but those of us in DC have already been thinking about the election for months.

All eyes will be on the presidential race, but votes cast on Nov. 5 also have the potential to make a big impact on the cast of characters who oversee NASA on Capitol Hill. 

In the Senate: 10 of the 33 senators up for election this year serve on the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, including three in prominent roles: 

  • Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA), the chair of the full committee who has spearheaded a bill to clean up orbital debris
  • Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the ranking member of the full committee who has been a vocal advocate for speeding up the regulatory process for launch
  • Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), the chair of the panel’s space subcommittee who led two hearings late last year on commercial space and government regulations

Down ballot: Other committee members up for re-election include Sens. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Jon Tester (D-MT), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), and Deb Fischer (R-NE), who also serves on the space subcommittee. 

All together, 37% of the full committee will be campaigning this year. 

Purse strings: The Senate Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee, which oversees funding for NASA as well as the Commerce Department’s Office of Space Commerce, has fewer members on the ballot. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), and Fischer are all up for re-election this fall.   

In the House: All members of the House are fighting to keep their jobs this year, but we are going to highlight two races involving space advocates in Congress that are rated a toss-up by the Cook Political Report.

  • Rep. Yadira Caraveo (D-CO), a member of the House Science, Space, and Technology Space Subcommittee who worked on a bill last year that would establish an institute on in-space resource utilization. 
  • Rep. Mike Garcia (R-CA), another member of the subcommittee who championed amendments last year to streamline government regulations in multiple areas.
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