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. gt

    good 12 yrs in plenty.. these senators that have been there for 18..24.. or longer need to get the hell out .. they have gotten us all in the mess were in now....

    March 7, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  2. Lee, Mays Landing New Jersey

    Another "Family Values" liar from the Party of Hypocricy and Destruction going into the dustbin of history (and a lucrative lobbying job to tweak or dismantle regulations or taxes on whatever industry he will work for)...

    Too bad there are too many voters that fall for this kind of low-life lying scum.

    March 7, 2011 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. ArtInChicago

    No Angle! Get out! No Senate for You!

    March 7, 2011 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  4. jr

    That is GREAT news!!!! He seems to be a bigoted hypocrite who is UNFIT to hold any public office, and should have been removed from office years ago.

    March 7, 2011 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  5. Howard

    I'm guessing a lot of Nevada voters said they can forgive, but they won't forget.

    March 7, 2011 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    A great "family values" Greedy Old Pigger like Ensign would fit right in with the Newter's campaign staff.

    March 7, 2011 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  7. Terise

    Support Koch Brothers maker of Brawny paper towels, Angel Soft toilet paper, Mardi Gras napkins and towels and Quilted Northern toilet paper.

    March 7, 2011 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  8. Sebastian

    He tried to outlast this scandal but could not. His selfish goals will have to yeild to what is decent. He laid with another man's wife ... a friend's wife and then tried to make her a paid concubine. This from the party that is always so quick to claim a mantle of morality. He should never be applauded. Even now, he is only doing this because he has no other choice.

    Too bad Louisiana relected that Vitter guy, the one that favors prostitutes over his wife. I guess that says something about Louisiana

    March 7, 2011 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  9. bcrunner

    Yeah... where were the ethics charges on him??

    March 7, 2011 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  10. paul

    Another "conservative" Republican resigning because of an affair? What a surprise? They preach a good game but when it comes to living that "creed", they fail. This will give him more time for his "hobby".

    March 7, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  11. StevieBoy

    I hate the Repugnantan party, but I wish politicians and voters would take people's personal sex lives out of the equation as far as what constitutes a qualified representative!! So he had an affair, if he didn't break any laws, as apply to his position, then leave the matter between the man and his family. I said the same thing for Bill Clinton – though he skirted the truth when pressed, but he shouldn't have been pressed in the first place. Keep the bedroom out of politics!!!!

    March 7, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  12. Limbaugh is an IDIOT

    Another GOP-Tea Party hypocrite bite the dust!

    How is that "family values" working out for ya?

    this dufus Ensign can set up a brothel in Las Vegas and invite Larry Craig, Michael Steele, the RNC and their tea bagging lemmings for some free tap dancing with the ladies!!!

    March 7, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. Anthony

    Another Gingrich supporter!

    March 7, 2011 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  14. republicansRliars

    He read the writing on the wall: that his philandering had caught up with him and his polls numbers were lower then Bush's.
    Now, take two-timing, adulterer and cheater John Boehner with you before Ms. Lyons and Ms. LaMora (the two mistresses) get lots of money to "tell more" about HIS secret cheating. The GOP: republicansRliars!!!!!!!!!

    March 7, 2011 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  15. Ari

    another filthy pathetic republican sex scandal – made all the worse by their own ongoing pursuit of morale superiority and so called traditional values...here's a guy that is probably outspoken against gay rights...

    March 7, 2011 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  16. AZLib

    Wish him well and hopes he ecourages other GOP senators to quit as well... Oh and he can take Liberman with him as well.

    March 7, 2011 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  17. Goodbye!

    What rhymes with Ensign? Resign.

    Good riddance!

    March 7, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  18. dave

    "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." It's possible that this is the worst attempt at lying ever.

    March 7, 2011 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  19. TomNPitt

    Thank you. This is best for everyone.

    March 7, 2011 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  20. TheMovieFan

    From the party of Family Values.

    March 7, 2011 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  21. Gerald

    I notice a lot of conservative bloggers, pundits, radio hosts, and news show(Hannity, O'Rielly, Greta, Fox & Friends etc) would over cover John Edwards, who should do jail time, for his actions. But when a sitting U. S. Senator does something so shameful, and not get atleast equal coverage, you know that their moral compass is set on bringing down those who they view as the opposition at any and all cost. That is when it is no longer news, but pure nonsense.

    March 7, 2011 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  22. Marge

    It's a wonder he hasn't been indicted by now. It seems if you are a republican you can do not wrong. Look at Spitzer, he did nothing illegal he just had sex with someone other than his wife. This guy had an affair, which was not very nice BUT he paid of his mistress's husband and got him a job lobbying illegally. Spitzer was made to resign by the republicans but this guy has still held office for almost five years after being caught.

    March 7, 2011 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  23. Justin L

    Thank GOD !!!!!!!!! We need to get rid of him and his scandelous, conservative, trashy membership in the U S SENATE and in goverment entirely. I hope a nut like Sharron Angle can run so Democrats can take the seat because only GOD knows they are going to need it in the FUTURE !!!!!!

    March 7, 2011 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  24. duffey

    Good riddance to the trash.

    March 7, 2011 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  25. ThinkAgain

    Good riddance! Yet another sleaze-ball "family values" Republican, thinking that because they say, "Praise Jesus!" on a regular basis that they are somehow decent people living a moral life.

    In my opinion, that pretty much sums up the Republicans these days: A lot of talk, followed by a lot of hypocritical action. Case in point: They supposedly care so much about our country, but have offered us NOTHING except lies, fear, hatred and division.

    No new policy ideas; no demonstrable understanding of our challenges. Just a lot of rhetoric about how the rich need even more money and the rest of us should be happy being poor (and believing in their warped version of Christianity).

    Like I said, good riddance. And here's to many more of his fellow GOP Senators and Representatives following him out the door!

    March 7, 2011 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
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