Harry Reid Retiring From the Senate

Harry Reid Retiring From the Senate

Harry Reid Retiring From the Senate

It’s only sad that it’s taken this long, but Democrat Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, current Senate minority leader, announced this morning that he will not be seeking reelection in 2016.

Senator Harry Reid
Senator Harry Reid

Mr. Reid, 75, who suffered serious eye and facial injuries in a Jan. 1 exercise accident at his Las Vegas home, said he had been contemplating retiring from the Senate for months. He said his decision was not attributable either to the accident or to his demotion to minority leader after Democrats lost the majority in November’s midterm elections.

“I understand this place,” Mr. Reid said. “I have quite a bit of power as minority leader.”

Reid has released a YouTube video explaining his decision.

Appearing with bruises on his face from a recent at-home exercising accident, Reid, 75, said the injury has allowed him and his family to have a “little down-time,” giving him time to think.

“We’ve got to be more concerned about the country, the Senate, the state of Nevada than us. And as a result of that, I’m not going to run for reelection,” the senator said in the video.

Reid, ribbing his Republican counterpart, added: “My friend, Senator McConnell, don’t be too elated. I’m going to be here for twenty-two months.”

Too bad for the rest of us that it’s going to be another 22 months before he’s out.

A few takeaways from this announcement…
1) Harry Reid is maybe not “old,” but the accident he suffered in January was pretty severe. Allahpundit made an excellent joke about it…

But the fact is that no matter how these injuries occurred, he’s not recovering the way someone younger would.

2) Reid is lying through his teeth when he says that he thinks that the Democrats can retake the Senate, and that he could win reelection. Poll numbers already had Reid running 10 points behind prospective Republican challengers, including Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval. And Reid’s own son Rory, who ran for governor in 2010 (and lost to Sandoval), famously did not use his last name on his campaign signage, leading to speculation that Harry Reid’s public notoriety had hurt his son’s chances, and that the Reid name no longer held clout in Nevada.

3) Scandal. While Reid managed to weather the story that his campaign paid his granddaughter Ryan Elisabeth Reid (Rory’s daughter) $31,000 for jewelry to support her business (which Reid then repaid to his campaign in order to make the story go away), there is a newer scandal brewing on the horizon, which this time involves Rory directly. It seems that Harry Reid has been pressuring the Department of Homeland Security to help his son.

The (Inspector General’s) report concluded that Reid pressured a compliant DHS official to override normal departmental procedures and rush through 230 EB-5 foreign visa applications, thereby freeing up $115 million the applicants invested in the SLS Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The report did not, however, reveal the now confirmed fact that the owner of that casino project had hired Reid’s son, Rory Reid, to provide legal representation for the project.

“At the request of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, [current DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro] Mayorkas intervened to allow expedited review of investor petitions involved in funding a Las Vegas hotel and casino [SLS], notwithstanding the career staff’s original decision not to do so,” the report found.

“The career staff noted that the purported urgency was of the applicant’s [SLS’s] own making and that the decision to expedite fell outside EB-5 program guidelines,” the report stated.

“Nevertheless,” the report concluded, “Mr. Mayorkas pressured staff to expedite the review. He also took the extraordinary step of requiring staff to brief Senator Reid’s staff on a weekly basis for several months.”

The timing of Rory Reid’s legal representation of SBE Entertainment in 2012 and into 2013, at least, coincides exactly with the dates of his father’s efforts to pressure the DHS to expedite the EB-5 visa processing so critical to the SLS’s project success.

While I’m certain that with Harry Reid’s announcement, this kind of deal is not going to be properly investigated at all, it does mean that Rory Reid has zero political future, which can only be a good thing. It’s also illustrative of the “quite a bit of power” that Harry Reid has gained for himself while in the Senate, and how he has used it to benefit his family and his political supporters.

So, while we can’t say goodbye to Harry Reid just yet, there is light at the end of the tunnel. We only have to endure him for another 22 months.

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