Nevada Sen. John Ensign (R) will retire rather than seek re-election in 2012, according to two sources familiar with the decision, bringing to an end a tumultuous several years that saw him go from one of the party’s rising stars to persona non grata.
He will be the third Republican to announce his retirement, following Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchison (Texas) and Jon Kyl (Ariz.) to the sidelines. Four Democrats as well as Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.), who caucuses with Democrats, are also retiring in 2012.
The retirement announcement comes in the wake of an ongoing Senate ethics committee‘s investigation into whether Ensign acted improperly in an extramarital affair he carried on with Cynthia Hampton, who worked for Ensign’s political committees and whose husband, Doug, was a top legislative staffer for Ensign.