Ensign’s troubles could worsen depending on the outcome of the Senate ethics investigation. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Ensign told a local radio station that his legal bills could end up totaling “well over a million dollars.”
The second-term Senator has spent much of his campaign money on legal fees, though some insiders said money will not be a problem for Ensign, who comes from a wealthy family. The question will more likely be whether Republicans can stomach voting for him despite the scandal.
Smith said she had dinner with Ensign a couple of months ago, and he told her his biggest fear is that “women are still mad at him. And he’s absolutely right about that. But it’s not the sex as much as the money. I think that hits both genders.”
Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) won re-election last month, three years after admitting “a very serious sin” in a public statement delivered alongside his wife. Gibbons stood by her then-husband, Jim Gibbons, as he ran for governor in 2006 amid allegations of sexual misconduct. She told Roll Call many Republicans will be watching Darlene Ensign to see if she forgives him.
“A lot of people can be forgiving if the wife is forgiving,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ensign’s voting record is admired at the grass-roots level, Uithoven said, “But we can’t have both our U.S. Senate seats represented by Democrats. We need to have our strongest candidate on the ticket.”