Guinn aide quits for sonsultant job with Ensign |

Guinn aide quits for sonsultant job with Ensign

Pete Ernaut will leave his job as chief of staff for Gov. Kenny Guinn to consult on Republican John Ensign’s U.S. Senate campaign.

“Governor Guinn ran what I think is the greatest grassroots campaign in the state’s history and the architect of that is standing over my shoulder,” said Ensign, who is seeking the Republican nomination to replace retiring Sen. Richard Bryan, D-Nev.

Ernaut, 35, a former assemblyman, will be replaced by Scott Scherer, now the governor’s legal counsel and himself a former assemblyman.

Guinn said Ernaut was “a magnificent campaign manager, a superior chief of staff and a great friend.” He said he convinced Ernaut to help him get his administration going and through his first legislative session and that Ernaut promised him a year’s service, which has now ended.

“He played a very important role in helping to pull together a fine team in the governor’s office,” said Guinn.

Ernaut said he was honored to serve Guinn but that he was excited about returning to the private sector and his political consulting-public relations business. He is scheduled to finish with the governor on Jan. 1.

Teased about whether he could hold a job for more than a year, he said, “I’m like Red Adair – I go to oil fires.”

Ensign is widely regarded as having a huge lead over any competitors in the race to replace Bryan. He lost one of the closest races in Nevada political history a year ago to Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev.

Despite the bitter tone of that race, he said he and Reid would be able to work well together.

“We buried the hatchet a long time ago,” he said. “We’re both professionals. We get along well.”

The leading Democrat seeking the post so far is Las Vegas lawyer Ed Bernstein.