Thune, Murkowski ascend in GOP

Senate Republicans elected two new leaders Thursday in the wake of the John Ensign sex scandal.
Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) was unanimously elected to serve as chairman of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, the post Ensign gave up after admitting last week that he’d had an affair with a staffer.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) was elected to take Thune’s place as vice chairwoman of the Senate GOP conference.
Unveiling the two new members of his leadership team Thursday afternoon, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he was not letting the Ensign scandal — or the headlines surrounding South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford — get in the way of his party’s work in the Senate.
“We’re doing the people’s business. We’re not going to be distracted by any of the other issues out there,” he said.

By:  Alex Isenstadt