According to multiple reports yesterday, Rep. Buck McKeon (R-CA), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has decided not to run for reelection in 2014. McKeon has not made a formal announcement of his plans, although there had been rumors for weeks that the congressman, first elected to his southern California seat in 1992, would retire.
If McKeon does retire, it likely means that a state legislator with a strong interest in commercial space issues will run for the position. State Sen. Steve Knight (R-Palmdale) had previously indicated an interest in running for the seat, but only if McKeon didn’;t run again. Knight already has a campaign website but as yet no formal declaration of his intent to run. Knight, the son of former state senator and X-15 pilot Pete Knight, has been an advocate of the state’s commercial space industry during his time in Sacramento. He has introduced legislation to expand the state’s liability protections for commercial space activities to include suppliers and manufacturers (a bill approved by a Senate committee earlier this week) as well as provide sales tax exemptions related to the development of space vehicles.