The election results could have a major affect on the KC-X tanker competition.
The headlines are:
- The Republican takeover of the House means Norm Dicks (D-Boeing/WA) loses is chairmanship of the House Appropriations subcommittee on defense, a position from which he could conceivably block any funding of a USAF award of the contract to EADS;
- Todd Tiahrt (R-Boeing/KS) lost his primary bid to move over to the US Senate, so he’s out of Congress altogether. This is a key Boeing ally.
- Patty Murray (D-Boeing/WA) widened her razor-thin lead in Washington State over Dino Rossi (R). Although Rossi fumbled a key question about the tanker competition during the race, there really was never any doubt that Rossi would support Boeing’s bid. But if Murray wins her fourth term, and the Democrats retain control of the Senate, both of which now appear likely, Boeing retains a powerful voice in the Senate to block any EADS contract;
- Norm Dicks’ successor is a bit up-in-the-air; the two ranking Republicans have a tenure that under House GOP caucus rules would require a waiver; the third ranking Republican is from Kentucky; none of the three have any particular partisan leanings in the tanker competition;
- Sam Brownback (R-Boeing/KS), another influential and vocal Boeing backer, was elected governor of Kansas and will be leaving the Senate; and
- With Republicans likely to end up with 49 seats in the Senate (depending on whether Independent Lisa Murkowski gets elected in Alaska and caucuses with Republicans, given the GOP abandoned her for the Tea Party candidate), pro-EADS Sens. Shelby and Sessions will have more power to block a contract to Boeing than they might have had when the Democrats effectively had 60 seats.
The USAF has said it expects to award a contract this fall (technically, through December 20) but it still hasn’t notified Boeing and EADS of the date to submit the best and final offers; Evaluation Notices (ie, questions-and-answers) are still being issued and worked through. We understand a decision could well slip to the first quarter.