Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid is calling it quits amid rumors of Republican opposition and injuries. The senate leader stated that he is thinking more about the future of the country, and the Democratic Party, than his own.
Reid has served decades in the Senate, has been a leading force for Senate Democrats since 2005, and was Senate Majority Leader under the first term of President Barack Obama, when Democrats swept the election. He admits the Republicans were planning on targeting him in the 2016 election, as they did in 2010, and it would be costly to defend his position. Reid said the party could better use the enormous resources that would be needed for his run toward other candidates around the country.
The politician was surprised to learn Obama called into a radio show to express support. Obama said Reid is a friend and he will be missed. The senate minority leader said he is not done working, because he has almost two years left of his term. One of his main goals is to assist Democrats in regaining the Senate. It was lost to Republicans in the 2014 elections. Reid faced fierce opposition from Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle in 2010, but managed to pull off a win. He has plotted the course of his position by endorsing New York Sen. Charles Schumer to take over, post retirement.
Reid, 75, has served in the U.S. Senate representing Nevada since 1987, and has also served in the House of Representatives, as well as being a state legislator. His political hand leaves its mark in several ways. He was instrumental in passing the Affordable Healthcare Act by coordinating a vote straight down party lines. He also made a procedural change, now known as the “nuclear option,” which led to numerous presidential appointments of judges to be fast-tracked. The change he made was simple. He changed procedural rules for filibusters regarding presidential appointments.
The senior leader was injured in January during an exercise regimen at home. According to press statements, an elastic band on the equipment broke and struck his face, causing Reid to fall striking his face and then his ribs. He sustained facial injuries and broken ribs, which forced him to be hospitalized overnight. Reid went back to Washington, D.C., after a few days of recovering.
While Reid states the accident’s injuries, and impending rumors that opposition from Republicans are not factors in his decision, others in the Democratic party are suggesting that the Senate leader’s strong-hold on the chamber is one of the things prompting a voter revolt in 2014, and could be detrimental in 2016.
Republicans turned over multiple Democratic seats during the last election cycle, including three the party thought were relatively secure in North Carolina, Arkansas and Colorado. Reid said at the time that he heard the message, and the message was that citizens wanted Democrats and Republicans to end Washington gridlock. Other polls stated that voters were unhappy with the way America was going, and the majority polled stated the country was headed in the wrong direction.
Reid said in several interviews he is not weary of opposing Republicans in elections, despite rumors, and is not quitting politics because of New Years Day injuries. He said it is time and that it is what is best for him, the country and the Democratic Party.
By Melody Dareing
Photo by Flickr license–