Congressional aviation committee and subcommittee leaders from both sides of the political aisle held onto their seats Tuesday, but some long-time friends of general aviation fell by the wayside. With 99 percent of the vote tallied by late afternoon yesterday, Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska), ranking Republican on the Senate Transportation Committee, appeared to have retained his seat. But fellow GOP senators want the long-time GA pilot to step down following his conviction on federal felony charges. First-term Sen. John Sununu (R-N.H.), a member of the Senate Transportation Committee who helped scuttle a $25 user fee on GA turbine flights, lost to Democratic former state governor Jeanne Shaheen. Sen. Gordon Smith (R-Ore.), who supported pilots in his state and voted to strike the $25 user fee from the Senate’s FAA reauthorization bill, lost to Jeff Merkley, a Democrat who has been speaker of the Oregon House. Rep. Steve Pearce (R-N.M.), an aircraft owner and pilot, lost out to Rep. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) in a bid to replace retiring Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.). Also ousted was Rep. Robin Hayes (R-N.C.), a long-time active pilot and aircraft owner whose GA credentials were considered stellar. He lost to Democratic contender Larry Kissell, an educator with no previous elective experience.
Election Results Shuffle General Aviation’s Fortunes
- November 6, 2008, 10:41 AM