News is breaking tonight that Senator John Ensign (R-NV) will resign amid an investigation into an affair he admitted to having. Via The Wall Street Journal, Ensign posted the following on his website:
“While I stand behind my firm belief that I have not violated any law, rule, or standard of conduct of the Senate, and I have fought to prove this publicly, I will not continue to subject my family, my constituents, or the Senate to any further rounds of investigation, depositions, drawn out proceedings, or especially public hearings,” Mr. Ensign said in the statement. “For my family and me, this continued personal cost is simply too great.”
According to the Las Vegas Sun, Republican Gov. Brian Sandoval will most likely appoint Rep. Dean Heller to finish out the term. This could be good news for the 2012 election and holding on a to a Republican Senate seat.
If Heller is appointed, it would give him a strategic leg up as an incumbent against his presumed opponent in the 2012 Senate race, Democrat Rep. Shelley Berkley. Berkley is still expected to run.
Allahpundit wonders if the timing of this announcement has to do with the debt ceiling vote.
Does the coming debt-ceiling struggle in the Senate and House have something to do with the timing here? Heller’s vote will be under a stronger microscope in the smaller upper chamber, but it might actually matter less than if he was still in the House. Remember that McConnell and other Republican leaders might decide to support cloture on the debt-ceiling vote and then let Democrats own it with a party-line simple-majority vote on the final bill. If that’s what ends up happening (and assuming Reid can find seven Republicans willing to vote for cloture), Heller’s vote won’t matter. In the House, though, every vote will matter. There’s nowhere to hide, even in a crowd of 435.