Nevada Sen. Harry Reid has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2016, saying that he wants to leave the Senate while he's still going strong.
"I want to be able to go out at the top of my game," Reid told The New York Times
. "I don't want to be a 42-year-old trying to become a designated hitter."
The Senate minority leader said that the timing of his retirement has nothing to do with his recent eye and face injuries from an exercising accident nor to being demoted from majority leader after Republicans won a majority in the Senate in the midterm elections in November.
In a message Reid sent out on YouTube, he told Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell not to be "too elated," adding that he's "going to be here for 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."
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According to the Nevada Democrat, "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."
of the National Review said that that statement "may shed more light on his decision than he perhaps intended."
Ponnuru contends that "getting a new Democrat elected will take money too, of course. If it would take more money to get the incumbent re-elected, doesn't that tell us something about his standing in the state?"
The National Republican Senatorial Committee issued a statement saying that Reid's retirement signals that he is "on the verge of losing his own election . . . after losing the majority" in the Senate, The Washington Post is reporting
The fundraising group for Senate Republicans predicts that Reid's seat will be an easy pickup for the GOP.
"Not only does Reid instantly become irrelevant and a lame duck, his retirement signals that there is no hope for the Democrats to regain control of the Senate," the NRSC said. "With the exception of Reid, every elected statewide official in Nevada is Republican and this race is the top pickup opportunity for the GOP.”
McConnell's chief of staff Josh Holmes wrote on Twitter that "anyone who thinks Reid's retirement is good for Dem Senate prospects hasn't followed politics very closely. [Reid] would've been damn tough to beat."
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus responded in a tweet, saying that "Nevada deserves real representation. Looking forward to helping a Republican secure Harry Reid's seat."
Political analyst John Fund
noted that it's a sign that Reid's "political machine in Nevada isn't invincible."
"In his five elections to the Senate, he has only won more than 51 percent of the total vote once," Fund said. "In 2010, his son, Rory, was crushed when he tried to run for governor of Nevada."
"Reid certainly knew Republicans were gunning for him in 2016 and didn't want to risk leaving politics a loser," he added.
Reid also received messages of good wishes from his fellow Democrats, according to the Post.
New York Sen. Charles Schumer said in a statement that "Harry is one of the best human beings I've ever met. His character and fundamental decency are at the core of why he's been such a successful and beloved leader."
Washington Sen. Patty Murray said that she owes "so much to Harry for everything he has done, and everything he continues to do, to help me fight for my constituents and for families across the country."
Politico is reporting that the search for candidates
to run to replace Reid has already begun.
Democratic strategist Dan Hart, who is based in Nevada, said that "it changes every facet of politics out here."
Robert Uithoven, a Republican consultant in Nevada, said that "the Democrats don't have the bench in Nevada that Republicans have heading into 2016."
"The infrastructure that Harry Reid spent decades building … is still here, but the Democrats will have a tough time finding somebody to take it over, fund it and execute it," Uithoven added.
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