WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid announced Friday he will not seek re-election to another term, saying he wanted to focus on bringing Democrats back to power in the Senate rather than his own re-election.
Reid, 75, said in a statement that it would be “inappropriate for me to soak up all those resources when I could be devoting those resources to the caucus, and that’s what I intend to do.”
Reid, first elected to the Senate in 1986, was considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats in a swing state. He turned back a challenge in 2010.
His announcement is sure to set in motion a scramble in the Senate’s Democratic leadership lineup between his top two deputies, Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois.
Schumer, the third-ranking Democrat, issued a statement praising Reid for “his strength, his legislative acumen, his honesty and his determination.”
Reid, in his statement, also mentioned the Jan. 1 exercising accident that left him badly bruised and struggling to regain sight in his right eye, saying it gave him time to think about his political future.
“We’ve got to be more concerned about the country, the Senate, the state of Nevada than about ourselves,”Reid said. “And as a result of that I’m not going to run for re-election.”
Below is Sen. Reid’s full public statement on his decision:
“When I was a boy, I dreamed of being an athlete. I listened to those baseball games on the radio, and I envisioned myself as a man out in center field at Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park in Boston. But the joy I’ve gotten with the work that I’ve done for the people of the state of Nevada has been just as fulfilling as if I had played center field at Yankee Stadium.
“The job of Minority Leader of the United States Senate is just as important as being the Majority Leader. It gives you so much opportunity to do good things for this country. And that’s what I am focused on.
“But this accident has caused Landra and me to have a little down time. I have had time to ponder and to think. We’ve got to be more concerned about the country, the Senate, the state of Nevada than about ourselves. And as a result of that I’m not going to run for re-election.
“I am going to be here for another 22 months, and you know what I’m going to be doing? The same thing I’ve done since I first came to the Senate.
“We have to make sure that the Democrats take control of the Senate again. And I feel it is inappropriate for me to soak up all those resources on me when I could be devoting those resources to the caucus, and that’s what I intend to do.
“Someone with my background, my upbringing, to have the experiences I’ve had is really a miracle. And I want you to know that I am so grateful for your invaluable support. I have done my best. I haven’t been perfect, but I’ve really tried my hardest to represent the people of the state of Nevada.
“From the bottom of my heart, thank you.”