Some takeaways for science from yesterdays US elections

first_imgBored-now/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0) Some takeaways for science from yesterday’s U.S. elections With reporting by David Malakoff. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Jeffrey MervisNov. 7, 2018 , 10:15 AM 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 (R–FL), 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. 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 Eddie Bernice Johnson (D–TX) is the presumed new chair of the House science committee, succeeding the retiring Representative Lamar Smith (R). In a statement released last night, Johnson said she would have three priorities “If I am fortunate enough to be elected chair.” One is ensuring “that the United States remains the global leader in innovation, which will require attention to a wide range of activities,” including supporting “a robust federally funded R&D enterprise,” and “defending the scientific enterprise from political and ideological attacks.” A second is addressing the “challenge of climate change, starting with acknowledging it is real.” The third is restoring “the credibility of the science committee as a place where science is respected and recognized as a crucial input to good policymaking.” It is not yet clear whether the new Democratic leadership of the House will allow the science panel chair to retain the power to unilaterally issue investigative subpoenas, which outgoing chair Smith used to demand information from climate scientists and others. If so, observers expect the panel to use that power to aggressively investigate a range of actions taken by President Donald Trump’s administration on climate, energy, and environmental policy.The House spending panels that oversee science agencies will also get new leaders. In general, however, research spending has enjoyed bipartisan support, so the changes might be more in style and emphasis than in substance.In the Senate, Democrat Bill Nelson of Florida, a strong supporter of NASA who once orbited Earth on the space shuttle, is trailing in his re-election bid.State ballot initiatives related to climate and energy issues generally fared poorly on election day. In Washington, voters rejected an effort to impose a tax on carbon emissions. In Colorado, a bid to greatly restrict the use of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) failed. In Arizona, a measure aimed at increasing the state’s use of renewable energy went down in defeat, although Nevada appears to have taken the first step toward adopting a similar policy. (But that measure still must prevail in a second vote, in 2020.) In Florida, voters supported a measure to ban offshore drilling in state waters. (The same measure also prohibits indoor vaping.)Here are the seven science candidates that ScienceInsider has been tracking who won their races:center_img Joe Cunningham (D)—First district, South Carolina Elaine Luria (D)—Second district, Virginia Chrissy Houlahan (D)—Sixth district, Pennsylvania Jeff van Drew (D)—Second district, New Jersey Lauren Underwood (D)—14th district, Illinois Sean Casten (D)—Sixth district, Illinois Kim Schrier (D)—Eighth district, Washington Email  Representative John Culberson (R–TX), who chairs a spending panel that funds NASA and the National Science Foundation, lost to Democrat Lizzie Fletcher. Culberson has been a major advocate of NASA’s Europa Clipper mission to a jovian moon; his defeat could mean the project will face obstacles. Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe 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. Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Countrylast_img