Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Great News! GOP Sen. Ensign Admits Extramarital Affair

Just another little something for the Democrats to pound over the GOP's head. Get ready for the avalanche of snide jokes, the moral preening, the unceasing pomposity, chortling at another conservative with his pants down. And you know what? He's got it coming to him.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Sources in Washington and Nevada say Republican Sen. John Ensign, a rising star in the Republican Party considering a 2012 presidential bid will hold a press conference later today in which he will acknowledge an extramarital affair.

Ensign, a member of the Senate GOP leadership, flew back to hisnative Las Vegas today in anticipation of the public announcement, sources said, missing a vote considered key to the Nevada tourist industry.

Two senior GOP political strategists, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter, said the announcement was imminent. They declined to say with whom Ensign had the affair.

In February 2002, Ensign took an unexplained two week leave of absence from the Senate citing "personal reasons." When he returned from that respite, Ensign told the Las Vegas Sun that he was "not making any comments one way or the other. I'm just asking people to respect my privacy."

Elected in 2000 and reelected in 2006, Ensign has been a leading conservative among Senate Republicans, playing a key role in demanding the resignation of Larry Craig in September 2007. Ensign called Craig a "disgrace" after he was arrested in June 2007 in an airport men's restroom on disorderly conduct charges. Craig resisted the calls from Ensign to resign but retired from the Senate last November.

More here.
Republican Sen. John Ensign of Nevada admitted Tuesday he had an extramarital affair with a member of his campaign staff. Ensign told The Associated Press in a statement, "I deeply regret and am very sorry for my actions."

An aide in Ensign's office said the affair took place between December 2007 and August 2008 with a campaign staffer who was married to an employee in Ensign's Senate office. Neither have worked for the senator since May 2008. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity.

The aide declined to comment on Ensign's political future. Ensign did not participate earlier Wednesday in a vote concerning the ailing travel industry, an unusual absence considering the topic's relevance in his home state.

"I know that I have deeply hurt and disappointed my wife, my children, my family, my friends, my staff and the people of Nevada who believed in me not just as a legislator but as a person," Ensign said.

Ensign's wife, Darlene, also released a statement about the affair.

"Since we found out last year we have worked through the situation and we have come to a reconciliation. This has been difficult on both families. With the help of our family and close friends our marriage has become stronger," Mrs. Ensign said.
His political future? Um, I'll hedge a guess. It's in ruins.

Update: The Politico reports the affair was divulged as a result of a blackmail attempt and the affair happened while Ensign was separated from his wife.
Political insiders in the Senate and in Nevada told POLITICO that Ensign began an affair with a staffer several months after he separated from his wife. When Ensign reconciled with his wife, the sources said, he gave the aide a severance package and parted ways.

Sometime later, a Nevada source said, Ensign met with the husband of the woman involved and had what this source described as a positive encounter. Sources said that the man subsequently asked Ensign for a substantial sum of money – at which point Ensign decided to make the affair public.

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