From the Los Angeles Times:
Nevada Sen. John Ensign, facing an ethics investigation stemming from an affair with a campaign aide, said Monday he would not seek reelection because he wanted to spare his family from an “exceptionally ugly” campaign.
“At this point in my life, I have to put my family first,” Ensign told reporters at a news conference in Las Vegas.
The announcement is welcome news to national Republicans who have admitted the two-term Republican would be vulnerable in the race. GOP Rep. Dean Heller, who won three statewide elections as secretary of State, is considered the party’s best candidate to retain the seat.
In February, the Senate Ethics Committee named a special counsel to investigate claims that Ensign violated ethics rules and federal law in the aftermath of his affair with Cynthia Hampton, a campaign aide married to Douglas Hampton, another Ensign aide and close friend of the senator.
Ensign acknowledged the affair in 2009, after Douglas Hampton threatened to go public. The senator later acknowledged that his parents had paid Cynthia and Douglas Hampton $96,000 after Douglas Hampton left his job in the senator’s office.
The Hamptons have suggested the payment was severance, but liberal critics have termed it an improper campaign contribution to Ensign by his parents. Ensign called the payment a gift.
The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee said in a statement that the seat was “ripe for a Democratic pickup,” citing trends in voter registration and the presence of President Obama at the top of the 2012 ticket.
The truth is that he’s not thinking about his family. He would lose. He has no money and little support from the Rethugs. He wouldn’t even survive a primary. Now the question is, will Sharron the Obtuse Angle be back? How about Sue Chickenlady Lowden? The latter was sued by a Rethug media services firm for bills accumulated during her campaign, and she says she can’t pay them (despite the fact that she’s a multi-millionaire). Maybe she can barter with them and pay them off with some chickens. I think Chickenlady’s chances in the “party of fiscal responsibility” are pretty low. The Obtuse Angle, on the other hand, is too stupid to realize how unelectable she is. There’s talk about her running for Heller’s congressional seat if Heller runs for Senate. I hope she runs for something, because she’ll flap her stupid lips and take the Rethugs totally off-message as they try to defend whatever batshittery comes out of her mouth.