A Sacramento judge ruled Thursday that Jose Hernandez, who flew in the shuttle Discovery three years ago, can use the ballot designation of "astronaut" in his current congressional bid.
The San Joaquin Valley Democrat is challenging freshman Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, for California's 10th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Balloting is in June.
A lawsuit filed by the Sacramento law firm of Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk argued that a ballot designation of "astronaut" for Hernandez would violate state elections law because he has left NASA.
But Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lloyd G. Connelly ruled that Hernandez can keep the moniker.
The suit notes that Hernandez reported to the clerk of the House of Representatives that he received $150,000 last year for serving as "executive director for strategic operations" with MEI Technologies.
Connelly said the fact that Hernandez worked for NASA only two weeks in 2011 does not mean that he cannot be called an astronaut that year, which also included service at MEI that drew upon his scientific and engineering background.