Ensign will not run for re-election
March 7th, 2011
02:15 PM ET
11 years ago

Ensign will not run for re-election

(CNN) - Sen. John Ensign of Nevada will go before cameras in Las Vegas Monday afternoon, to announce that he will not run for re-election next year, two sources tell CNN.

The two term Republican will make a statement at noon local (3 p.m. ET) at the Lloyd G. George Federal Courthouse in Las Vegas.

The 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.

Ensign's office announced last December that the senator had been told that he was no longer a target of a federal grand jury investigation into whether he violated the law in an effort to cover up the affair.

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.

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.

Rep. Dean Heller of Nevada's second congressional district is considered likely to run for the open seat.

Ensign brings to three the number of Republican senators who are retiring next year rather than run for re-election. Five Democratic senators are also not running for re-election.

The Democrats currently have a 53 to 47 majority in the Senate. They are defending 23 seats (21 Democrats and two independents who caucus with the party) next year, with the GOP defending 10 seats.

- Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.

Filed under: John Ensign
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Darth Vadik, CA

    There is a lot more profit in lobbying...

    ...but to be fair, the Democrats leaving the Senate in 2 years will do the same thing, so to heck with all of you...

    March 7, 2011 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  2. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    This is just Chapter 1of Ensign's reasons for not running for re-election, Chapter 2 will come out soon.

    March 7, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  3. BeverlyNC

    Good news. Ensign should have resigned at the time of his sex scandal and illegal lobbying job he tried to give to the husband of his mistress. The FBI had become involved as has the Senate Ethics Committee. These corrupt Republicans are digusting to constantly attack our moral President who is a good and decent family man full of integrity and character. They just make attacks on him because they resent he is a brilliant black leader. The tea party is nothing but racist. It is time to stand up for the truly honest men who are working for the PEOPLE and get rid of all these attack dogs who have done nothing but give everything to the wealthy and to corporations. We need Democrats who are truly serving those who elected them and passing PEOPLE-focused legislation. Republicans are trying to destroy America to please their corporate bosses. Republicans are liars and have proven themselves to be non-Christian and politicians with no values. We need more Democrats to keep restoring our country and keep bringing down the unemployment rate and keep creating jobs. Democrats are GOOD for AMERICA and they can be trusted. Republicans all too like Ensign need to leave Congress.

    March 7, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  4. Katie

    He should have left long ago. If he had any shame he would have resigned as soon as the story unfolded. But he's a republican, and those type of standards only apply to the other side. Debauchery is ok for the "family values" party.

    March 7, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  5. Dave

    Ensign sees the coming backlash against the GOP. Time to get out while the gettin's good.

    March 7, 2011 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  6. Steve in Denver

    Nice to see a "family values" party member succumb to a sex scandle. Can you take Vitter and Newt with you?

    March 7, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  7. MSL58

    SInce when do GOP congressmen have any interest in women?

    March 7, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  8. ConservaFascists/F.U.B.A.R.

    Where is Mr. Issa's investigation of Sen. Ensign? Where's his investigation on that sleezy Louisiana senator David Vitter?

    March 7, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  9. LA, LA, LA

    I wonder why . . . ?

    March 7, 2011 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  10. jaywingfuller

    Sounds like an excelent idea, Johnny-boy. The less we see of you, the better. But wait, I have an idea - why don't you just quit now and save us the trouble of seeing you at all! You and Sarah 'the Big Lie" Palin can set up a little cabin in the wilderness, far away from civilized folks, and mesmerize each other with your gigantic egos.

    March 7, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  11. GI Joe

    Good riddance - he'll just join the half term quitter and work for Fox or Lobby in DC - something - but not a real job. But then, he's not a real man. His mommy and daddy will take care of him. Lullabye and good-night.

    March 7, 2011 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. Sgt Schultz

    Good he has way too much baggage....parents cutting a check for $200K to the family of his mistress, sleeping with a lobbyist, getting that same lobbyist hired, what else? Of course the Republicans would have voted for him anyways.

    March 7, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  13. The Real Tom Paine

    Crap. I was so looking forward to seeing his ads, too. Maybe Sharon " Second Amendment Remedy" Angle has another shot, or maybe the lady who wanted to use chickens as co-pays will try again.... I could use the additional laughs as Obama crushes the GOP candidate by 10-20 points.


    March 7, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  14. WhoLou

    " make a statement at noon local (3pm ET) at the Lloyd G. George Federal Courthouse in Las Vegas."
    Do you think he is going to turn humself in for obstructing justice, campaign finance laws, lying to congress (lc intentional), or announce his new job as Chief Girlfriend Trouble Counselor at the C St Government Redemption Center in DC ?

    March 7, 2011 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  15. Eric in Colorado

    Strange he is part of the family values party. Funny how many republicans are involved in affairs and how "some" are kicked out, but others like Gingrich are by-passed, Guess in a party that allows creationist to reach presidential politics shows why they always fail our country and are hypocrites.

    March 7, 2011 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  16. Jim

    Boom – There's Gingrich's Veep candidate.

    March 7, 2011 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  17. keeth in cali

    Family values!

    March 7, 2011 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  18. Dan

    He was not re-electable. Nevada and the U.S. have had enough of Republican do-nothings, Republican know-nothings.

    March 7, 2011 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  19. kyle from ohio

    He should be out of office already, what a scandal; Moral values and all, please!!!

    March 7, 2011 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  20. MightyMoo

    It doesn't surprise me that those who claim support family values and things end up being no better then those they accuse of not having the same values. In the end they are both human and have their own share of mistakes. Too bad they don't realize this more on the campaign trails these days. There might be less venom in politics if they did.

    March 7, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  21. RG

    FAmily values....yeah, right

    March 7, 2011 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  22. lance corporal

    another family values republican hahahahahahahahahahaha

    March 7, 2011 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  23. BOHICA

    We knew all along he was a liar, a scumbag, a narcissistic sociopath, a thief and generally useless.

    March 7, 2011 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  24. SJB

    Good for him! He did two terms and got out! Thousands of other U.S. politicians should learn from his example!

    March 7, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  25. mdn

    Maybe he'll find a satisfying career in the porn industry.

    March 7, 2011 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
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