Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid's decision not to seek re-election to a sixth term will be a boost to both Republicans and Democrats, former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich and other political observers told Newsmax on Friday.
"This is a big victory for Sen. Mitch McConnell and the Republicans, because Nevada has been trending Republican," said Gingrich, who served as speaker from 1995 to 1999. He was first elected to the House from Georgia in 1979.
Noting that Nevada has a very popular Republican governor, Brian Sandoval, Gingrich said this "makes it very likely they [Republicans] will pick up the Nevada seat."
"That is a big first step toward keeping the Senate," he said. "It's just a huge break for the Republicans."
Matt Towery, a GOP pollster and debate expert, said Reid has become "such a polarizing figure around whom Republicans could rally their opposition" that the Nevada senator's announcement "will probably help the Democrats, not hurt them."
Republican strategist Bradley Blakeman found Reid's announcement exhilarating.
"It's about time," he told Newsmax, laughing. "We were hoping for a resignation, but we'll take an 'I'm not going to run again and retire' as being good enough at this point.
"I see service as an opportunity, not a career," said Blakeman, who served in the George W. Bush White House. "So many of these guys have overstayed their welcome, and they have become entrenched in the game of politics.
"They forget the real reason why they came to Washington to begin with."
Reid, 75, said he would not seek another six-year term because he wanted to leave the Senate "at the top of my game."
"I don't want to be a 42-year-old trying to become a designated hitter," he told The New York Times.
Reid quickly endorsed New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, the chamber's No. 3 Democrat, as his successor. Schumer then announced
his bid for the post.
A former boxer whose style often included mumbling and whispering, Reid spent the past six years pushing President Barack Obama's legislation through the Senate with virtually no Republican support.
Many of the president's first-term accomplishments — Obamacare, the 2009 economic stimulus, and financial-industry regulation — became law because of Reid's ruthlessness.
"He was perfect in that sense," Towery told Newsmax. "He was willing to take all the bullets. He would say anything, do whatever he had to do.
"He was unflinching — and in that sense, it was a great gift to President Obama to have such an individualistic leader."
In 2013, Reid invoked the "nuclear option" regarding filibusters
— using the tactic to stack the federal courts with Obama nominees who hold lifetime appointments. He also has held up more than 300 bills sponsored by Republicans.
He often clashed with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell
, who praised Reid on Friday as "a formidable opponent."
And his long-time Senate colleague John McCain tweeted:
Even after Reid was knocked back to minority leader in January, when the GOP took over Congress, he has led Democratic filibusters against Republican efforts to defund Obama's immigration amnesty orders — and slammed the bipartisan bill to reform Medicare payments
to doctors that was passed this week.
"He is a very unpopular … completely devoid-of-warmth leader — and if you want someone to be your target, for Republicans, you have the person in Harry Reid," Towery said. "The Republicans, in a sense, lost their best friend, because you now don't have that person to run against."
That's good, though, Blakeman said.
Reid represented "the established government entrenchment and polarization that has paralyzed Washington," he said.
"Turnover in government is healthy for both parties," he said. Seniority "brings a certain sense of entitlement and complacency. They lose the fire in the belly and they lose the enthusiasm for governance."
Republicans should take a cue from Reid's departure, Blakeman said.
"The message for Republicans is that we also should be looking inwardly and we should be leading by example and having healthy turnover in government as well.
"Harry's Reid's decision and the longevity of his service should be a wake-up call to both parties that we should be looking for new talent, people who are enthusiastic and bring something new to Washington," he said.
The Associated Press and Bloomberg News contributed to this report.
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