Feeney: target #1 in Florida

An AP article Saturday examines the reelection challenge Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) is facing for his House seat. Democrats have made Feeney “their top Florida target” and are playing up allegations of ethical improprieties by him. Feeney, the ranking member of the space subcommittee of the House Science and Technology Committee, is instead emphasizing his space experience for his district, which includes the Kennedy Space Center.

Feeney tells the AP that he is concerned that China is challenging US leadership in space, noting events like China’s ASAT test last January. It appears, though, he could use a refresher course on China’s space capabilities. “He warns that the Chinese are developing killer satellites that can attach themselves to other orbiting devices,” the article notes. However, claims that China was developing “parasitic microsatellites” were debunked a few years ago after people traced the source of the intelligence to a source with little credibility. (Perhaps Feeney will pick up some new intelligence on his current trip to China to participate in a global space forum in Beijing.)

Feeney’s Democratic opponent, Suzanne Kosmas, is focusing on issues other than space in the campaign, according to the article (her barebones campaign web site has a picture of a shuttle launch on it, but that’s it for space-related content.) The article indicates that at least some people in the district will factor in space into their voting decisions. “It’s going to kill this town,” one Titusville resident tells the AP, speaking of the shuttle’s impending retirement. “This town pretty much lives for the space shuttle.” It’s not clear Feeney would be able to do much about that: while he is a cosponsor of Rep. Dave Weldon’s shuttle extension legislation (HR 4837), he has talked recently about the need to shorten the post-shuttle gap by accelerating work on Constellation rather than keeping the shuttle flying after 2010.

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