POLITICS
11/19/2010 08:05 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

John Ensign To Run For Reelection: 'I Still Have A Lot To Offer The State' Despite Sex Scandal

Sen. John Ensign (R-Nev.) said Wednesday that his new plans to seek reelection in 2012 shouldn't be spoiled by his ill-famed marital indiscretions with the wife of a former high-ranking campaign staffer -- or the ensuing federal investigation.

"We've cooperated" with the investigations, Ensign told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "I have never felt like I broke any laws or ethics rules."

More importantly, Ensign said, he didn't want the blemish on his record to carry over to his constituents' confidence in his ability to legislate effectively.

"I believe I still have a lot to offer the state and our country, and I believe just as passionately about a lot of issues," Ensign explained. "I think I can still contribute in a positive light."

"Darlene and I have talked a lot about it and thought about it, and prayed about it, and this just seems like the right direction," he said of his wife's support for his choice to run again.

"Senator Ensign has been focused on earning back the trust of Nevadans and does plan to run for re-election at this time," a press officer for Ensign said on Thursday.

While talk has grown that Ensign may be targeted by Republicans, Ensign does not appear to be worried about the possibility.

According to the Review-Journal, apart from questions of Ensign's character, he'll also have to get the ball rolling on fundraising initiatives.

Also unclear is how he would raise necessary funds in short order, especially while he is under investigation. A Nevada political operative Wednesday estimated Ensign might need to raise at least $10 million, while his campaign account was down to $280,000 because of legal bills.

"People have talked to me about offers for fundraising and home socials," he said, addressing his current deficiency.

Ensign's seeming confidence about his chances for reelection may be well-founded. Despite his campaign love-triangle scandal, Nevada voters, especially conservatives, have given the two-term Senator high marks.

And it's not like a similar scenario hasn't played out before. Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) went through high-profile infidelity issues, involving prostitutes no less, missteps that were hammered repeatedly in his recent campaign against Charlie Melancon. Vitter was apparently successful in avoiding the branding that Democrats tried to place on him, however, as he cruised to victory in early November.