Nevada: Citing Fight to Fell Reid, Ensign Won’t Resign

Posted November 30, 2009 at 5:52pm

Embattled Sen. John Ensign (R) on Monday rejected calls for his resignation based on an extramarital affair with a former aide, saying to do so would take the focus off Republican efforts to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) next year.

In his first live interview since news of the affair broke this summer, Ensign told Las Vegas Newsradio KXNT talk show host Alan Stock that if he resigned, a special election would have to be held next year to replace him.

“If I resign, we have a second Senate race. For the people who want to beat Harry Reid, if you have a second Senate race in this state you take the focus off of Harry Reid. … I think that would hurt the conservative cause,— Ensign said.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee immediately seized on Ensign’s interview and sought to link the Senator with some of the Republican candidates who are trying to unseat Reid.

In a news release, the DSCC argued that former state GOP Chairwoman Sue Lowden and attorney Danny Tarkanian (R) “have been Ensign’s biggest backers in Nevada, with both offering him their full-throated support every chance they get.— The Democratic committee offered a quote from another Republican Senate contender, former state Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, as a contrast.

“If your wife can’t trust you, how can I trust you?— the DSCC quoted her as saying.

“Sue Lowden and Danny Tarkanian’s eagerness to campaign with John Ensign raises flags about their own character and fitness for office,— said Eric Schultz, a DSCC spokesman. “If Republican Senate candidates in Nevada want to campaign with John Ensign, they should be open about it with the people of Nevada.—