House candidate can note astronaut past on ballot

March 30, 2012 - 3:56 PM

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A congressional candidate in California's Central Valley can note on ballots that he used to be an astronaut.

A Sacramento County judge ruled Thursday that Democrat Jose Hernandez can use the ballot designation "astronaut." Hernandez is challenging freshman Rep. Jeff Denham, a Republican from Turlock, for California's 10th District seat.

A Sacramento law firm had argued in a lawsuit that Hernandez's use of the moniker would violate state elections law because Hernandez has left NASA. Hernandez had flown aboard the shuttle Discovery in 2009.

The Sacramento Bee reports (http://bit.ly/H3yHKG ) that Superior Court Judge Lloyd Connelly ruled that ballot designations apparently can reflect a profession or vocation held during the previous calendar year. Hernandez spent two weeks at NASA in 2011 before leaving the agency.

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Information from: The Sacramento Bee, http://www.sacbee.com