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As the Ensign Turns

While Rep. Dean Heller, Nevada Republican, wouldn’t actually use the “Resign!’ word, he pretty much said “Resign!” in his comments about embattled Sen. John Ensign, Nevada Republican, this week. He said as much to Jon Ralston on “Face-to-Face” Wednesday.

“You think (the ongoing Ensign investigations are) hurting the state, the effectiveness of the delegation to have John Ensign as a senator,” Ralston said. “It’s a distinction without a difference to call for his resignation or not, right?”

Heller: “Right.”

Right.

Meanwhile, a pair of former Clark County Republican Party leaders finally cracked the ice yesterday by openly calling for Sen. John Ensign’s resignation following a public statement of fact by Rep. Dean Heller on Wednesday that the distractions caused by Ensign’s self-inflicted ethics and legal problems have made him less than effective in representing Nevada in the nation’s capital.

POLITICO picked up on Richard Scotti and Swadeep Nigam’s op/ed published in Nevada News & Views yesterday HERE

As did “the paper of record,” the New York Times HERE

Blogger Steve Benen of The Hill says the “writing on the wall (is) getting bigger for Ensign” HERE

The nationally known Firedoglake blog weighs in HERE

And even MSNBC’s Rachel “Mad Cow” Maddow picked up on the story HERE

Meanwhile, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Danny Tarkanian wisely took this opportunity to finally separate himself from the scandal-plagued Dead Senator Walking, telling the Las Vegas Review-Journal that if he wins the June primary he doesn’t plan to campaign with Ensign in the fall.

“After consideration of the news reports and Congressman Heller’s recent statements — which I take very seriously — I think the issue is that the people of Nevada need to know that Senator Ensign can represent them effectively,” Tarkanian said in a written statement to the RJ. “I must respectfully say that as the potential Republican nominee, I do not expect to be campaigning with Senator Ensign this fall.”

Man overboard!!

On the other hand, fellow Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sue Lowden continues, for some unknown reason, to stand by this man rather than take the opportunity to at least distance herself and her campaign from Sen. Kryptonite.

“This investigation should not be carried out in the press,” Lowden said, “it should continue within the Ethics Committee and the U.S. Department of Justice,”

Yes, the INVESTIGATION should be handled by the Ethics Committee and DOJ. But that’s no longer the point.

The point is that Ensign is no longer able to effectively represent the state of Nevada BECAUSE of the investigations and has become a major league, big-time POLITICAL liability to the Lowden campaign whether she/they want to admit it or not.

And then there’s the listless, if not lifeless, Nevada Republican Party, which actually came to Ensign’s defense. The best thing they could have said was, “No comment,” but instead, the party’s spokesperson said, “We don’t see Sen. Ensign as a reason for Republicans not to be successful. We believe it is reasonable to let the investigation continue and let his guilt or innocence be determined.”

Again, this is no longer a LEGAL question. This is now a political question. Especially for Republican candidates who have Ensign wrapped around their collective necks.

Memo to the Nevada GOP: John Ensign can’t and won’t do anything to help you this year. Or next. In fact, he’s never been there for you. It is and always has been all about John. You owe him nothing.

On the other hand, you DO owe your party, your candidates, your volunteers, your donors and the people of Nevada something. It’s well past time to recognize who you are really responsible to and protect them, not John Ensign.