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US congressional candidate can say he is an astronaut on ballot paper

A court in California has ruled that former NASA employee Jose Hernandez can keep the moniker on the ballot paper in the June vote.

Jose Hernandez
Jose Hernandez
Image: Ben Margot/AP/Press Association Images

A CANDIDATE FOR the US Congress in California’s Central Valley can say on the ballot paper that he used to be an astronaut, a court has ruled.

A Sacramento County judge ruled this week that Democrat Jose Hernandez can say on the ballot paper that he is an “astronaut” despite a challenge that said he violated State law because he had already left NASA.

Hernandez is challenging freshman Representative Jeff Denham, a Republican from Turlock, for California’s 10th District seat in June.

Ballot designations must state a candidate’s current profession or vocation or else one that they have held during the previous calendar year.

A Sacramento law firm argued in a lawsuit that Hernandez’s use of the moniker would violate state elections law because Hernandez had left NASA.

He flew aboard the shuttle Discovery in 2009 but worked for NASA for the first two weeks of last year before leaving, The Sacramento Bee reports.

Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lloyd G. Connelly disagreed with the law firm’s challenge and ruled Hernandez can keep the full moniker which will read “astronaut/scientist/engineer” when voters get their ballot paper.

- additional reporting from AP

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Hugh O'Connell

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