Ensign announces he won't seek reelection
March 7th, 2011
04:47 PM ET
12 years ago

Ensign announces he won't seek reelection

(CNN) - Nevada Republican Sen. John Ensign announced Monday he will not seek reelection in 2012, saying in statement "there are consequences for sin."

"I do not want to put my family, those that I care about, or this state through what would be a very ugly campaign that would ultimately cause a great deal more pain than has already been felt as a result of my actions. For these reasons, I will not seek reelection in 2012," Ensign said during remarks at the Lloyd G. George Federal Courthouse in Las Vegas.

During the speech, the two-term senator made reference to his extramarital affair with Cindy Hampton, his onetime campaign treasurer, which he admitted to last June. She is the wife of Doug Hampton, a former top aide to the senator.

Ensign and his family were longtime friends with the Hamptons. Doug Hampton has given interviews stating his family has received money and employment offers from Ensign after he and his wife left the Senate staff in April 2008. Ensign admitted his parents gave the Hamptons $96,000 but said the money was a gift, not an effort to suppress word of the affair.

"As I have learned through my mistake, there are consequences to sin." Ensign said during his speech on Monday. "When a person is in a leadership role, those consequences can affect a lot of people in a very negative way."

"I know that God has forgiven me, and so has my wife. Darlene and I are doing better than ever and have gotten through this with a stronger marriage for which I am incredibly thankful. I can only hope that someday all those whom I have hurt or disappointed will find it in their hearts to forgive me, as well."

Ensign, who still faces Senate ethics charges resulting from the affair, had over the past few months been touring Nevada, asking voters in his home state for their forgiveness.

.- CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • John Ensign • Nevada
soundoff (16 Responses)
  1. Chris

    Oh, that's right – Nevada, like every state has two senators. Yet, somehow, just one, Harry Reid, got all the blame for that state's bad economy and terrible housing market. And, Ensign, the Republican senator, wasn't even mentioned.

    March 7, 2011 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  2. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    To a republican, illicit sex and illegal use of campaign funds are just part of the family values of the republican culture of corruption.

    March 7, 2011 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  3. carlos

    why not just GO now???????....still want us to pay your salary?????.....and your best health care??????.....freaking hypocrite and sinner and please do not invoke God s name..........

    March 7, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  4. Rickster

    The difference between democrats and republicans is that when republicans do something wrong they are shunned by the party and basically run out of office. When a democrat does the same thing he or she gets re-elected and becomes a party hero.

    March 7, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  5. Squigman

    And another sleaze bag, goes down in flames. Every time a republican starts blowing about values, and civic responsibility it's time to listen to the other candidate. The republican's lying, as usual.

    March 7, 2011 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  6. John Tighe

    How do Republicans get away with this? Ensign and Edwards do the same thing, but only Edwards gets nailed by the news for it. How could this happen if the Media is "liberal"?

    March 7, 2011 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  7. Me

    Now, if the good people of Nevada would just provide us with another Democrat, I would be sooooo happy!

    March 7, 2011 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  8. Dover

    Tell me, is it a requirement as a republican to either cheat on your wife of lobby against same sex rights WHILE being a closet gay? It seems like you have to be one or the other. Family values indeed.

    March 7, 2011 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  9. gilbert

    Who is man not to forgive a fellow brother or sister when ask for forgiveness?. If he actually has been going around the state seeking forgiveness then I think he is worthy of mine.

    March 7, 2011 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  10. Christopher

    "The difference between democrats and republicans is that when republicans do something wrong they are shunned by the party and basically run out of office. When a democrat does the same thing he or she gets re-elected and becomes a party hero."

    Ever hear of David Vitter(R) moron????

    March 7, 2011 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  11. ja

    he should have reigned months ago, another hall pass

    March 7, 2011 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  12. Dave

    Neither moral nor the majority. Republicans are going to bring about the 2nd New Deal. In 2012 they will be routed, losing independent voters and many of their own faithful alike.

    March 7, 2011 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  13. redpens

    Another DC rat bites the dust. He deserves blame for Nevada's bad economy
    as Dingy Harry Reid. Both of them need to go

    March 7, 2011 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  14. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Funny how they learn their mistakes when they're caught. LOL

    March 7, 2011 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  15. A keen observer

    Ensign is just another "family values" republican philanderer ala Gingrich.

    March 7, 2011 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  16. Montana

    The Democrats don’t get on their soap box and claim the high religious ground that the Republicans always do, thats one of the major differences between them.

    This was a long time in coming, goodbye “hush money” Senator John Ensign (R-NV), don’t let the door hit you. The party of “Family Values” my ass, more like the “Party of hypocrites”. Poor Christopher Lee, at least he resigned! What about the “diaper boy” and big mouth Senator David Vitter (R-LA)! Too Funny!

    Make room for more of the Arrogance, race-baiting, crazy talking Sharron Angle, who else can Nevada elect?

    March 7, 2011 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |