Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid Dead at 82

Harry Reid, former Senate Majority Leader and Nevada’s longest-serving congressman, died on Tuesday at the age of 82.

Reid’s wife Landra announced his death in a statement.

“I am heartbroken to announce the passing of my husband, former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid,” she said. “He died peacefully this afternoon, surrounded by our family, following a courageous, four-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Harry was 82 years old.”

Reid underwent an experimental surgery in 2018 that put his pancreatic cancer in “complete remission.”

“We greatly appreciate the outpouring of support from so many over these past few years,” his wife added. “We are especially grateful for the doctors and nurses that cared for him. Please know that meant the world to him.”

Reid’s career in politics began in 1969 when he served in the Nevada Assembly for two years. Reid then served as Nevada’s lieutenant governor for four years between 1971 and 1975. In 1982, Reid was elected by voters in Nevada’s first congressional district to represent them in the U.S. House of Representatives. Five years later, in 1987, Reid began his career in the Senate.

While in the Senate, Reid served as majority leader from 2007 to 2015 after the Democrats regained control of the chamber.

Current Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said Reid was “one of the most amazing individuals I’ve ever met,” adding, “He never forgot where he came from and used those boxing instincts to fearlessly fight those who were hurting the poor & the middle class.”

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, who supported changing the name of Las Vegas’s Airport to Harry Reid International, said, “Senator Reid will be deeply missed but the mark he left on our state will last forever.”

Reid was applauded by his supporters and criticized by his detractors for his unorthodox style of governance.

Reid agreed to give Sen. Ben Nelson’s (D-NE) home state of Nebraska federal government kickbacks to secure his vote in favor of the Affordable Care Act.

Reid notably used the “nuclear option” in the Senate in 2013 to end the filibuster on presidential nominees and non-Supreme Court judicial nominees. However, Reid’s move paved the way for Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to end the filibuster on Supreme Court nominees, allowing former President Donald Trump to confirm three new Justices.

In 2012, Reid accused Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney of not paying his taxes. At the time, this was one of the dirtiest tricks in political history, and the Washington Post even called him out on it. Although PolitiFact determined Reid’s claim was a “Pants on Fire” lie, Reid successfully spun the narrative against his political opponent. As an example of how influential Reid’s lie was, hip-hop superstar Kanye West rapped, “Mitt Romney don’t pay no tax” on his 2012 song “To the World.”

Reid never apologized for his lie about Romney. Instead, when CNN’s Dana Bash asked Reid if he regretted making the statement, Reid justified it by saying, “Romney didn’t win, did he?”

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