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. feudi

    This dirtbag Ensign should be thanking his stars that he has not been indicted.

    March 7, 2011 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  2. AnOldGuy2

    thinking with that little brain again, eh Ensign?? You shoulda resigned last year. Hope you get embroiled in a civil lawsuit over this 'affair' and you end up washing cars for a living.....

    March 7, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  3. feudi

    Imagine that...a "gift" of $96,000 to the husband of your mistress. That money came from taxpayers and there should have been an indictment.

    March 7, 2011 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |

    Another C street wingnut hypocrite down. Good riddance.

    March 7, 2011 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  5. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    Sad, because he certainly seems to have the social moral, spiritual backbone of your classic "Conservative" Republican.

    March 7, 2011 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  6. timz

    Shouldn't we hear the announcement directly from Mommy and Daddy?

    March 7, 2011 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  7. Chris

    I guess Republican politicians try so hard to legislate morality because the are so lacking in that field.

    March 7, 2011 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  8. Rob R

    Does this mean we have to deal with Sharon Angle all over again?

    March 7, 2011 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  9. greyhackles

    "Republican Family Values"? Ahahahahahahahahahaha!

    March 7, 2011 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  10. Big John

    That's good; hopefully the good people of Nevada are not going to repeat ignorance by sending another Republican Senator to Washington.

    March 7, 2011 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. Morbo

    That makes 8 senators who won't be back. Nibiru approaches

    March 7, 2011 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  12. cnnwhynow

    I wish all of these scumbags resign!!! This is a mopral and ethical issue not partisan, Just as I thought John Edwars was a dope so was his counterpart Newt Gingrich. Power corrupts and thats why our forefathers didn't want wealthy lawyers in washington forever. They should serve there terms and return to reguilar life and see how they screwed people lives up.

    March 7, 2011 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  13. bman

    One less scumbucket clogging up our halls of state... Lets hear it for the good guys!

    March 7, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |

    Another "family values" holier then thou GOP wife cheater bites the dust,GREAT! Obviously Ensign is a honor graduate of the Newt Gingrich school of wife cheating. What a hyprocrite. From the do as I say,not as I do party.

    March 7, 2011 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  15. jOHN

    Another republican "moral compass"...lol

    March 7, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  16. Patrick Lewis

    Another C streeter and Family member hitting the bricks. Good. Talk about elitist, it's one thing to think you are better than everyone due to being smart, it's another to think you are better than everyone because you are GRACED BY GOD like those people do. Seriously, look it up.

    March 7, 2011 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  17. Sam the butcher

    Shocker. Come on back ia few years (after Obama leaves office in 2016) like uncle Newtie Gingrich with the Stepford Wife and try to convince us all that you are the man of family values.
    Forget the clown car, gonna need a bus with all these jokers in the R party.

    March 7, 2011 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  18. Unknown

    Its a shame that most of the moderate Republicans are leaving and are being replaced by those who answer to the Tea Party and no one else!

    March 7, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  19. Imjesayin

    If the $96K in hush money was only a "gift", then why make it look like it came from your parents, Mr. Ensign?

    March 7, 2011 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  20. Nurse Lisa

    Bravo – his credibility is in question. Maximum tax-free gifts from both Ensign's mom and his dad to Ensign's girlfriend, her husband and to almost all of their kids (not the one who got a job via Ensign's intervention) reeked of antics bordering on illegal – "Hush-honey money"

    March 7, 2011 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  21. Mark

    Gee, I'd sure like a $96,000 "gift". Who can I sleep with???

    March 7, 2011 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  22. mike kernd

    Its harry reids fault. John ensighn is a great. Man. Just kidding

    March 7, 2011 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  23. diridi

    he does not have any kind of locus standi to run....cheat...o.k, idiot...

    March 7, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  24. james

    Like Webb and several others, he saw the writing on the wall. Doesn't make sense to run for a seat you can't win.

    March 7, 2011 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  25. thomas

    You make more as a lobbyist ask Ex Senator Larry E. Craig, Republican of Idaho . He's working the halls of Congress and making big bucks ! !

    March 7, 2011 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
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