Texas runoffs: Hall loses, Babin wins

Texas held several primary runoff elections on Tuesday, and two of the results had some space policy implications. In the 4th district, former House Science Committee chairman Ralph Hall lost a Republican party runoff to former US Attorney John Ratcliffe, 53 to 47 percent. Hall was chairman of the committee in 2011–2012, and served as ranking member in 2007–2010 when the Democrats were in the majority; he currently holds the honorary position of “chairman emeritus” on the committee. Hall was first elected to Congress in 1980 as a Democrat, but changed parties in early 2004.

In the 36th Congressional district, which includes near its boundaries the Johnson Space Center, Brian Babin defeated Ben Streusand in the Republican primary by a 58-42 percent margin. The seat is currently held by Rep. Steve Stockman (R), who challenged Sen. John Cornyn for the Republican Senate nomination and lost in the primary earlier this year. Space policy didn’t play a major role in the race, although during the runoff campaign Babin’s campaign trumpeted an endorsement by retired NASA flight director Gene Kranz. “I firmly believe Dr. Brian Babin is committed to NASA and the space industry and will work hard to maintain the Johnson Space Center as the leader in space operations, engineering and science,” Kranz said in the endorsement earlier this month.

11 comments to Texas runoffs: Hall loses, Babin wins

  • Robert G. Oler

    doubtless the guy who beat Hall is a right wing nut, but its nice to see old Ralph saddle up and leave. RGO

  • Gene Kranz’s endorsement is good enough for me.

  • Hiram

    Hall was a staunch and valued defender of science and space exploration when he headed the Science Committee, and the Space Subcommittee before that. But he’s largely been vacant from those efforts since then, and he’s now perceived as a peripheral figure with regard to that committee, with the august honorary title of “Emeritus Chair”. Of course, he wouldn’t have given up the job, but was term-limited out by GOP congressional regulations. I don’t believe I’ve seen him at any of the recent hearings. I think he’s also not currently in any leadership position, so he’s somewhat dispensible in that regard. Ratcliffe’s politics aren’t a lot different from Hall’s. Ratcliffe just ran on the platform that Hall was a REALLY old guy, who represented a do-nuthin’ Congress. Hall wasn’t able to wriggle out from that label. Now Ratcliffe can be a younger guy who represents the same do-nuthin’ Congress, and he’ll probably do it proudly.

    I don’t know much about Babin, but Stockman is a certifiable nut case.

  • James

    The less congress does the better. I say up the age requirement to 85!

    • Hiram

      Let’s face it. Congress represents the people by consensus agreement of the people. Unless Joe Blow down the street wants to lead space policy, and thinks he can do it in a consensus-driven way, Congress (and the Administration) need to do it. The recipe for effective space policy is bipartisanship, or at least non-partisanship. That’s where Ralph Hall excelled. As a onetime Democrat, he knew how to reach across the aisle, creating at least sustainable policy, if not dramatically increased funding. The current generation of politicians whose priorities are graven in stone and whose abilities to compromise are lacking will see their space policies eventually axed. They don’t take the long view, unless the long view is their view.

      Now, that’s the recipe for effective space policy. Not the recipe for GOOD space policy. With Congress at the helm, we can only cross our fingers about the latter. Of course, good space policy that isn’t effective is pretty much worthless.

  • noominy noom

    Have to agree with James.

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