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Ensign makes an even earlier exit than was first expected

WASHINGTON — In his letter of resignation, Sen. John Ensign made his departure official “effective close of business May 3, 2011.”

But on his final day in office Tuesday, at least on paper, the Nevada Republican was nowhere to be found.

Aides said he left Washington on Monday night to return to Nevada.

Ensign’s last word, then, was the farewell address he delivered on Monday.

At the weekly luncheon Tuesday where Senate Republicans gathered, and where Ensign had been a fixture, his designated successor, Rep. Dean Heller, R-Nev., was introduced as the state’s next senator.

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