Astronaut Challenging Freshman Jeff Denham

Posted October 12, 2011 at 8:44pm

Former NASA astronaut Jose Hernandez (D) officially launched his campaign Tuesday for California’s 10th district, where freshman Rep. Jeff Denham (R) is running for re-election.

“As an astronaut, I relied on thousands of people to do their job. As citizens, we rely on Congress to do their job, and they are failing miserably. This Congress puts ideology above service, and that is just wrong,” Hernandez said.

Hernandez, a Central Valley native, is moving back to the district from Texas, where he worked for NASA at the Johnson Space Center in Houston for about a decade. Hernandez flew as a mission specialist on the space shuttle Discovery’s 2009 mission to the International Space Station. He joined Houston-based MEI Technologies in February.

The newly drawn 10th is a swing district with a 25 percent Latino voting age population. President Barack Obama would have carried it by 3 points in 2008, while Gov. Jerry Brown (D) would have lost it by 5 points in 2010.