Washington (CNN) – Republican Sen. John Ensign of Nevada's announcement Monday that he won't run for re-election next year is apparently not changing the political landscape, as of now.
In the wake of Ensign's announcement, neither of two of the top non-partisan political handicappers are changing their rankings of the race for the now open Senate seat in Nevada.
The two-term senator and one-time rising star in the Republican party admitted last June to an extramarital affair with Cindy Hampton, his onetime campaign treasurer. She is the wife of Doug Hampton, a former top aide to the senator. In a statement from Las Vegas Monday, Ensign said "I have learned through my mistake, there are consequences to sin."
Rep. Dean Heller of Nevada's second congressional district, who was weighing a primary challenge to Ensign, is now considered likely to run for the open seat. The big question mark is whether any of the Republicans who ran in last year's Senate contest, including GOP nominee Sharron Angle, will make a bid for their party's nomination.
For the Democrats, Rep. Shelley Berkley of the state's first congressional district has discussed a possible run, but has not made any decisions. Other Democrats mentioned are state Attorney General Catherine Cortex Masto and Secretary of State Ross Miller.
The non-partisan Rothenberg Report is keeping their ranking of the race as "Lean Republican."
"With Rep. Dean Heller (R) as a likely candidate, Republicans are well-positioned to hold the open Senate seat. Of course it's still very early in the race and it's unclear who Democrats will nominate, but the race remains Lean Republican for now," says the Rothenberg Report.
The non-partisan Cook Political Report is keeping their ranking as "Toss Up." Cook Report senior editor Jennifer Duffy calls Nevada a competitive, says the Democrats have a bench of candidates that could be competitive statewide, and adds that "until we have primary winners, Nevada was and still is a toss up."
Republicans say they're optimistic they'll keep the seat in party hands.
"I am confident we will successfully retain this seat as we work to win back a new Senate Republican majority," said Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, in a statement.
Of course it's a different story from the Democrats.
"Nevada is now an open seat, and ripe for a Democratic pickup. It remains high on our target list. Whoever Republicans field as their candidate will have a tough time holding onto this seat in a blue-trending state with President Obama at the top of the ticket," said Guy Cecil, executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, in a statement.
Sen. Barack Obama won Nevada by 12 points over Sen. John McCain in the 2008 presidential election. That was a big switch from four years earlier when President George W. Bush carried the state by two points in his re-election victory over Sen. John Kerry. Although Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid hung onto his seat last November, the GOP scored big in the state's other contests in the midterm elections. The Republicans easily held onto the governor's office and captured a Democratic held House seat.
But with Obama back on the ballot in 2012, Nevada will most likely be a fierce battleground in the next election.
Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN