Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-FL) and her Republican challenger, Sandy Adams, sparred in a debate earlier this week, with space policy as one of the topics, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Kosmas, according to the report, took credit for the additional shuttle flight included in the recently-signed NASA authorization bill, as well as support for an extension of the ISS and commercial spaceflight. Adams said she wanted to “increase funding so that spaceflights can continue regularly”; what “spaceflights” she meant wasn’t specified in the article but Adams has previously discussed a further extension of the shuttle program, such as on the issues section of her web site. However, at this point in the wind-down of the shuttle program adding more flights may not be possible without at least an extended gap after next summer’s mission.
On Friday Florida Today endorsed Kosmas for reelection, citing in large part her work on space policy. “The tireless efforts of Kosmas to help craft a solid blueprint for NASA’s future and her fierce advocacy for the spaceport and creating post-shuttle jobs” has been the “one constant” for the Space Coast in this period of change, the editorial states. “The work has been the centerpiece of her term and earns Kosmas our strong recommendation for re-election.” Adams, the editorial continues, has an “appalling” lack of knowledge about NASA: during an interview with the paper’s editorial board on the day the House was voting on the NASA authorization bill “Adams hadn’t even read the measure and did not know any of its specifics.”
The same editorial also endorses the reelection bid of Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL), who, unlike Kosmas, is not facing a strong reelection challenge in his district immediately south of Kosmas’s. Although Posey was opposed to the administration’s original plan for NASA, he later supported the Senate version of the authorization bill. “It was the right decision in the best interests of the Space Coast, with both a NASA heavy-lift rocket and commercial rocket fleet approved,” the editorial notes, adding that “his knowledge of the commercial space industry can serve the Space Coast well”.
Kosmas previously won the endorsement of the Orlando Sentinel, but that paper has decided not to endorse Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL), instead throwing its support behins his Republican challenger, Dan Webster, for the Orlando-area district. Grayson is known in space circles for his sharp questioning of NASA administrator Charles Bolden in House Science and Technology Committee hearings earlier this year, as well as his opposition to commercial elements of the administration’s plans for NASA (“the epitome of socialism and corporate welfare”, as he put it during the markup of the House version of the NASA authorization bill in July.) Space policy, though, does not figure in the Sentinel’s decision to support Webster over Grayson.