Ensign resignation may be awkward for Georgia senator

One of the side stories to Sen. John Ensign’s resignation is that his departure creates a Republican vacancy on the powerful Senate Finance Committee, which handles taxes, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, and trade legislation.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky will appoint a replacement, and it is a plum sure to be sought by several on the GOP side.

Roll Call reported today that the leadng candidate appears to be Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, who was passed over earlier this year.

But in what could be a bit of awkwardness, as it happens Isakson is the co-chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, which pursued an investigation of Ensign for the past 22 months, finally triggering the Nevadan to give up his seat.

Jim Galloway, a political columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, commented on the connection.

"Let’s see: Senator resigns and is replaced by the fellow who, in the way of things, helped force his resignation. The optics are awkward," Galloway wrote today.

Isakson was returning today from a trip to China and could not be reached.

"But as much as many would like to see him more deeply involved in the nation’s financial debate, I’m betting this isn’t the path he’ll pursue," Galloway writes.

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