(Bloomberg) — Top U.S. Senate Democrat Harry Reid won’t seek re-election next year, ending a congressional career that spans more than three decades.
The Nevada lawmaker announced his plans to retire after this session in a video message Friday on YouTube. Reid said a January exercise accident in his Nevada home had given him “time to ponder and think” about his future.
“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,” Reid said in the video. “That’s what I intend to do.”
Reid’s decision after a dozen years as Senate leader opens up races to succeed him in Nevada and in the Democratic power structure in Washington, and it robs the Senate of one its few remaining dealmakers. The Republican Senate campaign committee said Democrats now have “no hope” to regain Senate control.
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Reid, 75, has served in Congress for more than three decades and has been the top protector of President Barack Obama’s agenda in the Senate. He is the longest-serving member of Congress from Nevada.
The two most likely successors to Reid would be his deputy, Senator Dick Durbin of Illinois and the chamber’s No. 3 Democrat, Charles Schumer of New York.
“Harry is one of the best human beings I’ve ever met,” Schumer said in a statement. “His character and fundamental decency are at the core of why he’s been such a successful and beloved leader.”