POLITICS

Senator Harry Reid Announces Retirement

03/27/2015 08:13 am ET | Updated Mar 27, 2015

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will not seek re-election, he said in an interview with The New York Times published Friday. Reid has led the Senate Democrats since 2005.

In a video posted Friday morning, Reid thanked his constituents for allowing him to serve the state of Nevada. (Watch the video above.)

In the video, Reid said he will work to help the Democrats take control of the Senate again, noting he felt it was "inappropriate" to "soak up all those resources on me, when I can be devoting those resources to the caucus." Reid also warned Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) he'd be working hard until the end of his current term.

"My friend Sen. McConnell, don't be too elated," Reid said. "I'm 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."

McConnell released a statement Friday on Reid's announcement, saying he looks forward to working with Reid until his time in office is over.

“Nothing has ever come easily to this son of Searchlight," McConnell said. "Underestimated often, his distinctive grit and determined focus nevertheless saw him through many challenges. They continue to make him a formidable opponent today."

Reid, who broke some ribs and bones in his face after an accident that occurred while he was exercising at home in January, said his recent injuries were not the reason he decided to retire.

Reid has served in the U.S. Senate since 1987, and acted as senate majority leader from 2007 to 2015. Before working in the Senate, Reid was a congressman representing Nevada in the 1980s, and before that served as the lieutenant governor of Nevada.

Read the full statement from Reid on his retirement below:

When I was a boy, I dreamed of being an athlete. I listened to those baseball games on the radio, and I envisioned myself as a man out in center field at Yankee Stadium or Fenway Park in Boston. But the joy I’ve gotten with the work that I’ve done for the people of the state of Nevada has been just as fulfilling as if I had played center field at Yankee Stadium.

The job of Minority Leader of the United States Senate is just as important as being the Majority Leader. It gives you so much opportunity to do good things for this country. And that’s what I am focused on.

But this accident has caused Landra and me to have a little down time. I have had time to ponder and to think. We’ve got to be more concerned about the country, the Senate, the state of Nevada than about ourselves. And as a result of that I’m not going to run for re-election.

I am going to be here for another 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.

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, and that’s what I intend to do.

Someone with my background, my upbringing, to have the experiences I’ve had is really a miracle. And I want you to know that I am so grateful for your invaluable support. I have done my best. I haven’t been perfect, but I’ve really tried my hardest to represent the people of the state of Nevada.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

President Barack Obama also released a statement Friday on Reid's retirement:

Harry Reid is a fighter. In his five terms as a U.S. Senator, Harry has fought for good jobs, a safer environment for our kids, and affordable health care for all. He's never backed down from a tough decision, or been afraid to choose what is right over what is easy. Time and time again, Harry stood up to special interests and made sure every one of his constituents had a voice in their nation's capital.

Above all else, Harry has fought for the people of his beloved state of Nevada. The son of a miner and a maid from the tiny town of Searchlight, he never forgot where he came from, and he never stopped working to give everyone who works hard the same shot at success that he had.

As the leader of the Senate Democrats during my time in office, Harry has become not only an ally, but a friend. I'm proud of all we have accomplished together, and I know the Senate will not be the same without him. I look forward to working with him to keep fighting for every American over the next two years, and Michelle and I wish him and Landra well in whatever the future holds.

This post has been updated with statements from Obama and McConnell.

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