WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. John Ensign, who chairs the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, made clear to CNN's Wolf Blitzer Wednesday he wants embattled Idaho Sen. Larry Craig to leave the Senate - immediately.
"The senator said that by the end of September, if the guilty plea was not overturned, if he was not reestablished on his seniority on committees, that he would resign," said Ensign, a Republican representing Nevada. "Neither one of those things are going to happen. I call on Sen. Craig, if he loved the Senate and his party, he would keep his word. "
Ensign also brushed aside the notion that the Idaho Republican should be given leniency, because he only pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor.
"This wouldn't be making the national news if it was an ordinary misdemeanor," Ensign said. "He pled guilty to something that, you know lewd behavior, that's not the behavior a United States senator should be engaged in."
Ensign also dismissed the suggestion that Craig's case is similar to that of Republican Sen. David Vitter, who has admitted to committing a "serious sin" with a Washington prostitute when he served in the House.
"First of all, he never said exactly what he did," Ensign said of Vitter. "Secondly, it happened before he got into the United States Senate, and there were no laws that were broken as far as anybody knows."
Ensign also said that Craig's continued presence in the Senate will hurt Democrats and Republicans alike.
"There's too many people that paint with a broad brush that we're all corrupt, we're all amoral," he said. "And having these kinds of things happen, whether it's a Republican or Democratic senator - we certainly have had plenty of Democratic scandals in the past - we need people who are in office who will hold themselves to a little higher standard."
– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney