Skip to comments.Nevada Sen. John Ensign to admit affair; sources say blackmail involved
Posted on 06/16/2009 3:30:45 PM PDT by pissant
Nevada Republican Sen. John Ensign has told colleagues that he plans to admit an extramarital affair, a senior Republican official tells POLITICO.
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.
Ensigns office did not return calls for comment, but the senator told the Associated Press Tuesday: "I deeply regret and am very sorry for my actions."
Ensigns staff said he would be making a statement about a personal matter at 3:30 p.m. local time in Las Vegas.
Ensign informed fellow Nevadan Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, about his situation earlier today.
"I don't know the details. I talked with him today, Reid told POLITICO. Of course, he's my friend. This is a private, family matter. I just hope that Darlene and he work things out."
Reid said he didnt offer any advice on how to handle the situation. "I didn't give him any advice. I just told him he's my friend. I'm pulling for him. Anything I can do to help, let me know.
Ensign, a born again Christian, is chairman of the GOP Policy Committee, making him the highest ranking Republican Senator in Nevadas history. He has three children. Ensigns wife Darlene, in a statement to the Las Vegas Sun, said: "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.
Ensign was absent on Capitol Hill Tuesday, skipping the weekly lunch that his committee hosts for GOP senators and its ensuing press conference where party leaders espouse their weekly message.
Word of his expected announcement stunned colleagues, who were preparing for this summers big battles over the Supreme Court nomination of Sonia Sotomayor and a health care fight but now have to contend with a drama hovering over one of their leaders.
Elected in 2000, the 51-year-old Ensign has moved up the leadership chain in the Senate. As chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2008, Ensign oversaw the devastating losses to GOP candidates. But his party largely spared him of blame, casting it instead on an unpopular president who dragged down the partys brand. Since then, Ensign has sought to articulate conservative principles and is a mainstay at GOP press conferences deriding Democrats domestic policies.
Ensign ran for the Senate in 1998 against Sen. Harry Reid in a nasty, cliffhanger race that Reid now the Senate majority leader won by a razor-thin 428 votes. Reid and Ensign have since reached a détente; neither man criticizes the other back home by name.
A staunch fiscal and social conservative, Ensign has been considered a rising star in his party, recently making headlines by speaking at events in Iowa, raising speculation about his interest in a run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012.
Its not clear exactly how this affair will affect Ensigns future in the Senate. When former Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho) was arrested for soliciting sex in an airport mens room in the summer of 2007, Ensign was among Craigs toughest critics, saying he should step down since he had been charged with a crime.
How is it an affair if he was separated from his wife?
Hope he enjoys the ride back down.
The egos of the powerful never fail to eventually hoist them in their own petard....
This is front page news on NYTIMES.com (although it’s a small story, in the crawl). But, to date, the NY Times has not printed a single word, in it’s paper or on it’s website about Obama firing a federally protected Inspector General.
1. It’s an affair until they’re divorced.
2. The other woman was married to somebody else.
um... he was seperated from his wife at the time...
nothing to see here.
I wish they would keep their petards in their pants.
Ya’ really need to ask that stupid question?
Just read the Bible... God says marriage is forever, if you happen to be separated, oh well, it’s still adultery.
For the life of me I cannot understand these stupid people who cheat on their wives...haven’t they any moral strength whatsoever??
Funny how they make him sound like the victim.
That’s what I thought.....he was separated....so what’s the big deal???
Well, Larry Fag was a victim, of his Restless Leg Syndrome.
I don’t care. He could never be as low and vile as Barney Frank, Chris Dodd, Harry Reid.
Democrats should be applauding him.
....another day, another fallin Republican... There are a few left, right?
Better that than giving into blackmail. It's not as though he was cheating on his wife either as they were separated at the time.
I'm not going to care about what he did while separated.
He’s toast-—only dimocraps can do stuff like this.
By your same “biblical” standard anyone who divorced and marries again or dates is also an adulterer.