Former astronaut advances in California congressional race

A former NASA astronaut seeking to represent a central California district in Congress will advance to the general election, but may face an uphill battle to win. In the primary election in California’s 10th District, Jose Hernandez, a Democrat and former NASA astronaut, finished second to incumbent Republican Jeff Denham. (Under California’s new open primary system, all candidates compete in the primary, rather than have separate party primaries; the top two-vote getters move on to the general election, regardless of their party affiliation.) Hernandez and Denham will square off in the November election. Denham won the primary handily, getting 48.3% to Hernandez’s 28.7%, with an independent candidate, Chad Condit, getting most of the rest. The Los Angeles Times notes, though, that Democrats have a slight edge over Republicans in voter registration in the district.

One other race of interest was in 30th District in Los Angeles, which pitted two Democratic incumbents, Howard Berman and Brad Sherman, against one another. Sherman beat Berman by eight percentage points, although the two will face off against each other in the general election. Both Berman and Sherman have supported export control reform for the space industry: Berman introduced legislation that was incorporated into the House version of the defense authorization bill last month, while Sherman sponsored earlier reform efforts as a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

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