John Ensign


A John Ensign timeline

From birth to disgrace


1958: Born in Roseville, California.

1976: Graduates from Clark High School.

1979: Attends UNLV.

1981: Receives a bachelor’s degree from Oregon State University.

1985: Earns his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Colorado State University.

1985: Becomes a born-again Christian while at Colorado State. While there, also joins Promise Keepers.

1987: Marries his wife, Darlene. The couple now has three children.

1987: Opens West Flamingo Animal Hospital.

1994: Opens South Shore Animal Hospital.

1994: Elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

1996: Re-elected to the House.

1998: Losses a tough race for a Senate seat to Harry Reid by only 428 votes.

1998: Calls on President Bill Clinton to resign during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

2000: Elected to the U.S. Senate.

2002: Takes a two-week unexplained break from the Senate for “personal reasons.”

2006: Re-elected to the U.S. Senate.

2006: Gives longtime friend Doug Hampton a top staff position.

2007: Begins an affair with Hampton’s wife, Cindy, in December.

2008: Doug and Cindy Hampton leave Ensign’s employ in April. Ensign ends the affair in August. Also in August, Doug Hampton hired as vice president of government affairs for Allegiant Air, whose CEO is a significant supporter of John Ensign.

April, 2009: Plans a summer trip to Iowa, raising speculation he could run for president in 2012.

June 11, 2009: Doug Hampton writes a letter, which he submitted to a Fox News reporter, in which he says Ensign has “ruined our lives and careers and left my family in shambles” through his “heinous conduct.” He further states, “I need justice, help and restitution for what Senator Ensign has done to me and my family.”

June 16, 2009: Publicly admits to the affair with Cindy Hampton. Rumors swirl that someone, either at Fox News or on Capitol Hill, tipped Ensign off to the fact that the story was about to break, but no one has admitted to it.

June 17, 2009: Resigns as chairman of the Republican Policy Committee, the fourth-ranking spot in the party’s leadership.

July, 2009: Announces he will run for re-election and acknowledges that in April 2008 his parents gave the Hamptons $96,000 in cash as “gifts.” Later, reports surface that John Lopez, Ensign’s chief of staff, will be departing, and shortly after that, Ensign’s Communications Director Tory Mazzola announces he is also leaving. Ensign refuses comment on any of this.


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