updated 11/5/2008 11:06:20 AM ET 2008-11-05T16:06:20

The House Science Committee lost three strong NASA supporters Nov. 4 when U.S. voters elected a new Congress and chose Democrat Barack Obama as the next president.

Reps. Nick Lampson (D-Texas) and Tom Feeney (R-Fla.) lost their re-election bids to well-funded challengers. Rep. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), the chairman of the House Science space and aeronautics subcommittee, won his bid to represent Colorado in the U.S. Senate.

Voters in Boulder, Colo., home to Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., the University of Colorado's Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, and the National Weather Service's Space Weather Prediction Center, chose Democrat Jared Polis, a technology entrepreneur and philanthropist, to replace Udall in the House.

Lampson, who was running for re-election in former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's heavily Republican district, had been in line to succeed Udall as the space and aeronautics subcommittee chairman.

Republican Pete Olson defeated Lampson with 53 percent of the vote, according to the overnight tally. Texas voters re-elected three other prominent NASA supporters: Republican Reps. John Culberson and Ralph Hall and Democratic Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee.

In Florida, Feeney lost his re-election bid to Democrat Suzanne Kosmas, a four-term member of the Florida House of Representatives who hit the Kennedy Space Center-area congressman on his ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. Republicans held onto the seat being vacated by Rep. Dave Weldon, a dogged NASA supporter who is retiring from Congress after serving 14 years. Bill Posey, a Florida state senator, will join Kosmos in Washington to represent Brevard County and its thousands of Kennedy Space Center employees.

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