Sen. Ensign admits extramarital affair

June 17, 2009 4:22:09 AM PDT
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.

Ensign was first elected to the Senate in 2000 and has been an influential conservative voice within that chamber. Last year, his GOP colleagues picked him to serve as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, moving him to the No. 4 position in leadership. The committee coordinates the GOP's legislative efforts in the Senate.

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