Politico moderates a daily online forum on questions of the day. One of today’s questions, posed to a range of pundits: Can John Ensign survive? How will he fare in a Republican primary and, if he makes it that far, the 2012 general election.
A sampling of responses:
Michelle L. Swers, Georgetown University associate professor of American government: “Ensign faces a difficult road. Past Senate Ethics cases that have involved special counsels such as Bob Packwood for sexual misconduct and the Keating 5 have not ended well for the incumbent senator.”
Sandy Maisel, Colby College professor of government: “Only 10 of the 33 Senate seats up in 2012 are currently held by Republicans; thus the Democrats have very few chances for takeovers (and many vulnerable incumbents). Ensign’s intention to run for re-election is the best news Senate Democrats have had in some time. If he wins the nomination, the seat will definitely be in play.”
John Anzalone, Democratic consultant: “Voters are pragmatic and particularly Republican primary voters. I think Ensign gets a serious Republican primary challenger, like Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons faced in 2010, and will lose in the primary (like Gibbons did).”
Lisa Camoosa Miller, Republican strategist: “If Harry Reid can pull off a miracle in Nevada, why can't Sen. Ensign?”
Peter Fenn, Democratic media consultant: “Ensign has as much chance of staying in office as Hosni Mubarak."