Top US Senate Democrat Harry Reid to retire after 2016

By REUTERS
March 27, 2015 16:13
1 minute read.

 
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US Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said on Friday he will not seek re-election next year, leaving Congress after 30 years and complicating Democrats' efforts to retake control of the Senate in 2016.

Reid, who represents Nevada, said in a video message that his decision to retire from the Senate was not due to a recent accident or his party's loss of control of the chamber in the November congressional elections.

"The job of minority leader of the United States Senate is just as important as being the majority leader," Reid, 75, said in the video, posted to YouTube.

"It gives you so much opportunity to do good things for this country. And that's what I am focused on."

Reid, a former amateur boxer who represented Nevada in both the Senate and House of Representatives, peppered his farewell message with sports metaphors, and vowed to keep fighting for his party in his remaining 22 months in office.

He also issued a warning to Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, to not get too excited about his pending departure: "My friend Senator McConnell, don't be too elated."

Reid said an accident in January that left him with noticeable damage to his face had nothing to do with his decision to leave, but did give him time to think about Democrats' future.

"We have to make sure that the Democrats take control of the Senate again," he said in the video.

However, Reid's decision could complicate Democrats' efforts to retake control of the US Senate in 2016 elections. He had a tough re-election fight in 2010 and faced another one in 2016.

Democrats who might seek to replace Reid as their party leader in the Senate could include Illinois Senator Dick Durbin New York Senator Chuck Schumer, who currently hold the No. 2 and No. 3 leadership positions.

The New York Times, which first reported the news, said Reid had been considering his retirement for months.

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