Senator Harry Reid announces retirement

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced in a video message shared with the New York Times that he will not seek re-election next year, marking the end of a 28-year career serving in the U.S. Senate.

In the message, the 75-year-old senator stated that he had been considering retirement for months, but that it was not because of his recent demotion to minority leader after November’s mid-terms or because of injuries he suffered in January in an “exercise accident” at his Las Vegas home.

“I want to be able to go out at the top of my game,” Reid said. “I don’t want to be a 42-year-old trying to become a designated hitter.”

Reid has become an increasingly zealous and even contentious presence in the Senate since the election of President Obama in 2008. He has become a regular target for the right after heralding in the president’s healthcare law with no Republican support, as well as for changes in Senate procedure that allowed Democrats to overcome judicial and executive nominee filibusters with a simple majority.

Reid admitted that the campaign funds that would need to be spent on his reelection to counteract mega spending by conservatives trying to oust him–like the billionaire Koch brothers, who are a frequent target of criticism by Reid–would be better spent on other competitive election states.

He also warned Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) not to get too elated.

“I’m going to be here for 22 months,” Reid said. “And you know what I’m going to be doing? The same thing I’ve done since I first came to the Senate.”

He didn’t finish the statement, but I think it’s safe to assume what he’s talking about.

[NYT]