WASHINGTON—While Michael Dukakis may have chosen Lloyd Bentsen as his running mate for Bentsen’s ability to win over his home state and Southern conservatives, the Democratic senator from Texas also brings to the ticket a strong interest in space research, advanced physics, and high technology.

Bentsen’s record on scientific issues suggests he may be primarily motivated by economic concerns— in particular, growth for Texas. But those interests have coincided with efforts to advance science in three areas—the superconducting supercollider, the R&D tax credit, and continued research on the Stategic Defense Initiative. In fact, Bentsen joined the Senate Com merce, Science and Transportation Committee in 1987, according to a committee staffer, so he could play a larger role in such matters.

Bentsen has been most outspoken on space issues, in large part because of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. In the last two years, he has joined other Democrats in...

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