The Las Vegas Sun's Jon Ralston thinks
Sen. John Ensign's days representing Nevada may be numbered.
Ralston has gotten a lot right lately, and his latest speculation seems plausible, if premature. As Ralston writes:
"I have to believe Ensign will soon become a target of the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Why? Because the GOP sees a path to taking the Senate in 2012 -- two-thirds of the contested seats are held by Democrats -- and they don't want to have to worry about defending their own. Ensign has a disapproval rating approaching Harry Reid-like elevation and he will have neither the benefit of a Reid-like turnout machine or campaign team. Those who know him or have been with him before want nothing to do with him now. Even in Nevada, where the dead are resurrected and no depredation seems unforgivable, Ensign has no path to victory."
Ensign, of course, is still reeling from scandalous revelations
of an affair with the wife of one of his aides. What is more, a tough Republican challenger lies in wait. "If Ensign does follow through and run," says Ralston, "all things being equal, he will be flattened by GOP Rep. Dean Heller."
Ensign certainly seems highly vulnerable, but would the NRSC turn on Ensign, an incumbent who previously ran the committee? In a situation like this, the back-stabbing is typically unofficial.
Look for the NRSC to quietly encourage Ensign to not seek re-election. If that doesn't work, it may pay lip-service to Ensign while maneuvering behind the scenes to ensure Heller wins.
: Public Policy Polling says there are "mixed messages in Ensign primary numbers