Senator John Ensign (R-NV) “is expected to announce at an afternoon news conference in Las Vegas that he will retire rather than face a brutal 2012 re-election campaign, according to knowledgeable sources,” Roll Call reports.
Ensign, who has been embattled since revealing he had an affair with the wife of a former aide, was facing a possible primary challenge from Rep. Dean Heller (R-Nev.). Heller is now expected to run for the open Senate seat.
According to the Las Vegas Sun, Ensign “is not expected to resign his seat — simply not pursue re-election in 2012.”
Here’s how the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) responded in a press release today:
Guy Cecil, Executive Director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, released the following statement on Senator John Ensign’s decision to retire at the end of his term:
“Nevada is now an open seat, and ripe for a Democratic pickup. It remains high on our target list. Whoever Republicans field as their candidate will have a tough time holding onto this seat in a blue-trending state with President Obama at the top of the ticket. Democrats will have the resources needed to win this seat and just as important, will build a grassroots organization that matches 2008 and 2010.”
U.S. Senator John Cornyn, Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC), made the following statement regarding today’s announcement by U.S. Senator John Ensign and the Nevada Senate race next year:
“I thank Senator Ensign for his nearly two decades of public service. Next year’s Senate race in Nevada will now come down to a clear choice between two competing visions for our country – between a Republican candidate who believes in smaller government, fiscal responsibility and creating good, private sector jobs, and a Democrat candidate who believes in keeping our country on the same reckless fiscal path of more government and higher taxes. Republicans welcome this choice and I am confident we will successfully retain this seat as we work to win back a new Senate Republican majority.”