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Law Firm Seeks To Block Use Of 'Astronaut' Title On Congressional Ballot

Former NASA Mission Specialist Running For U.S. Congress Wants Word To Appear

A former NASA mission specialist who is running for U.S. Congress wants to have the title "Astronaut" placed by his name on the ballot. But a law firm with ties to the GOP has sued to block the use of the title, saying it is not one a person carries for life.

Jose Hernandez (pictured in NASA photo) is running against freshman Republican Jeff Denham for the newly-drawn 10th Congressional district in California. Hernandez was a mission specialist aboard STS-128, a mission flown by Discovery to the ISS in 2009. He retired from NASA in 2011, according to the Huffington Post. He had filed to have the title "astronaut" appear beside his name on the primary ballot in June. The Fresno Bee reports that a Sacramento law firm filed a suit to block that title, saying it is not an honorific such as doctor or judge that a person carries for life.

While Denham's campaing has distanced its self from the suit, the law firm Bell, McAndrews, & Hiltachk reportedly has strong ties to the the state Republican party, and has also done work for Denham's campaign.

The winner of the primary will likely face Democratic Congressman Gary Condit, who had previously announced plans to challenge Denham for the seat.

FMI: www.cagop.org, www.jsc.nasa.gov/Bios/htmlbios/hernandez-jm.html

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