At first glance, the easy victory Tuesday by Rep. Mike Simpson in the Republican primary for Idaho’s 2nd District wouldn’t appear to have much relevance to space policy: Simpson doesn’t represent a “space state” and doesn’t serve on the House Science and Technology Committee nor the Commerce, Justice, and Science subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. However, there is a link, however tenuous. One of Simpson’s challengers was Gregory Nemitz, billed in an article about the campaign last week as an Internet businessman. However, this is the same Greg Nemitz who filed a claim on the asteroid Eros and then attempted to charge NASA a “parking and storage fee” when the agency’s NEAR Shoemaker spacecraft landed on the asteroid. When NASA declined to pay the $20 fee, he filed suit in federal court, only to have the case dismissed.
The pre-election article stated that Nemitz would “promote scientific research, such as space exploration, through grant competitions.” His campaign web site is now redirecting to his business BeefJerky.com, although a cached version is available; there doesn’t appear to be much, if anything, there about prizes, space property rights, or other space matters.