Nevada's governor Wednesday named Republican U.S. Representative Dean Heller to replace Senator John Ensign, who resigned after admitting to an extramarital affair with a campaign staffer.
Heller will serve the remaining 20 months of Ensign's Senate term. Because he and Ensign are both Republicans, there is no change in the balance of power in the Senate, now controlled by Democrats, 53-47.
Governor Brian Sandoval, a first-term Republican, called Heller "a fiscal conservative who believes in limited government ... who will fight to keep taxes low and balance the federal budget."
Heller is in his third term in the House of Representatives and Sandoval will need to call a special election to fill his House seat.
Ensign had been facing a Senate ethics committee probe stemming from his extramarital affair. He said last month he would not run for re-election in 2012, and then last Thursday said he would resign effective May 3.
Ensign admitted to having an affair in 2008 with Cynthia Hampton, who worked for his campaign and whose husband, Douglas, was a legislative aide to the senator.
The ethics investigation focused in part on some $96,000 Ensign's parents gave to the Hamptons, which Ensign's attorney has characterized as a gift. (Reporting by Timothy Pratt; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Greg McCune and Jackie Frank)
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