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Some Takeaways for Science from the U.S. Elections

By November 14, 2018No Comments

For scientists, the new Democratic majority in the U.S. House of Representatives isn’t the only important result from last night’s midterm election. Although some races are still too close to call, and others are awaiting the counting of early votes and absentee ballots, here are some other highlights:

Four House incumbents active on science issues have been defeated, and a fifth is trailing.

  • Representative Barbara Comstock (R–VA), who leads the research subcommittee of the House science committee, lost to Democrat Jennifer Wexton. Comstock was considered to be one of the most vulnerable Republican incumbents heading into election night.
  • Representative Randy Hultgren (R–IL), also a member of the science committee, was ousted by Democrat Lauren Underwood, a nurse and health policy analyst.
  • Representative Dana Rohrabacher (R–CA)who has served on the science panel for 3 decades, trails Democrat Harley Rouda by 2700 votes.
  • Representative Carlos Curbelo (RFL), a co-leader of the bipartisan House Climate Solutions Caucus, lost his race to Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D). His defeat, coupled with losses by other Republicans who are members of the caucus, has put its future in doubt.

Seven of the 19 House candidates with science, engineering, and medical credentials (including Underwood) have won seats in the next Congress (see a list of the winners, below). All the winners are Democrats, and four of the seven female scientists on the ballot were victorious.