Space entrepreneur running for Congress

This coming Tuesday is a special election primary for California's 36th congressional district, which had been represented by Jane Harman until her retirement earlier this year to lead the Wilson Center in Washington. The top two vote-getters in Tuesday's primary, regardless of primary affiliation, will move on to a general election in July. Among those hoping to make the cut Tuesday is an executive with a NewSpace company. Stephen Eisele, one of six Republicans running in the special election, is also head of sales for Excalibur Almaz, the multinational company that is developing a commercial orbital spaceflight program using legacy Russian hardware. Eisele, who joined Excalibur Almaz in 2007, is responsible for the company's global sales activities; the bio on his web site notes that he specifically works "with the entertainment industry to help foster creative partnerships for future projects." Given that background, it's not surprising that he mentions space issues on his campaign web site."I am a strong supporter of our US defense and aerospace industry and believe in fostering continued commercialization and incentivizing innovation through competition," he writes. "Having worked in the Space industry for many years, I am a strong advocate of Space exploration and its benefits to humanity." He specifically cites the need for export control reform and the use of prizes, but doesn't go into other details about civil or national security space policy. Eisele, though, faces a major challenge in the election: the district, which includes many of the South Bay communities in the Los Angeles area from Venice Beach to San Pedro, is heavily Democratic. Given the open nature of the primary, that will make it difficult for any Republican, let alone a relatively unknown newcomer like Eisele, to get enough votes to move on to the July runoff.

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