Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), one of the strongest NASA advocates in Congress, now officially knows who he’ll have to beat in order to secure a third term in the Senate. Rep. Connie Mack IV (R-FL) easily won the Republican primary for the Senate seat on Tuesday and will face off against Nelson in November in what polls currently suggest to be a tight race. Mack, son of a former senator, easily beat out a familar name in space policy circles: former congressman Dave Weldon, who represented Florida’s Space Coast in the House from 1994 through 2008 (a seat now held by fellow Republican Bill Posey.) Mack’s campaign web site is silent on space (and many other specific policy issues), but does describe his “Mack Penny Plan” that would cut federal spending across the board by one percent per year for six years.
Another member of Congress who has been vocal on space issues won’t be returning next year. In a member-versus-member primary created by redistricting, Rep. John Mica (R-FL) beat Rep. Sandy Adams (R-FL) by 20 percentage points. Adams’s current district includes part of the Space Coast, including KSC (the rest, including Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, is in Posey’s district), but redistricting put her in territory away from the Space Coast and in the heart of longtime member Mica’s district.