Harry Reid, who served as Senate majority leader for eight years, died Tuesday at 82.
Nevada Independent CEO Jon Ralston first broke news of Reid’s death.
BREAKING: Harry Reid, probably the most important elected official in Nevada history, has died at 82.
My condolences to his family and friends.
— Jon Ralston (@RalstonReports) December 29, 2021
Sen. Chuck Schumer called Reid “one of the most amazing individuals I’ve ever met. He never forgot where he came from and used those boxing instincts to fearlessly fight those who were hurting the poor and the middle class. He gone but will walk by the sides of many of us in the Senate every day.”
Only two weeks ago, Las Vegas renamed its airport after Reid, who was born 60 miles south in the tiny town of Searchlight to a rock miner father. Reid claimed the shack where he was raised lacked an indoor toilet or hot water.
After two terms in the U.S. House, Reid was elected to the Senate in 1986, and rose to leader of the Democrat caucus two decades later, a post he held until his retirement.
As Senate majority leader during the first portion of former President Barack Obama’s tenure, the Nevadan helped pass the 2009 stimulus bill, the Affordable Care Act, and the Dodd-Frank financial-regulation bill.
In a development Democrats came to regret during former President Donald Trump’s time in office, Reid invoked the nuclear option to push through judicial nominations with a simple majority vote, rather than a 60-vote requirement. He also showed no remorse for a notorious lie about then-presidential candidate Mitt Romney before the 2012 election.
The New York Times obituary Tuesday night read in part:
Reid was a meandering and awkward public speaker, far more comfortable plotting strategy beneath the imposing portrait of Mark Twain in his Capitol office than he was making the case for his party on a Sunday news show, much less at a political rally. In private, he wielded an irreverent sense of humor, but could be brusque, often not even saying goodbye to colleagues at the end of a phone call. When he did speak publicly or to the press, he was often given to verbal miscues that came to be known as “Reidisms.”
Reid and his wife married in 1959 and had five children, including Rory, a Clark County (Nev.) commissioner.
In 2014 financial disclosure reports, Reid reported a net worth of nearly $10 million, mostly in municipal securities and land rights in southern Nevada and Arizona. Some rumors claim he retired from politics due to corruption involving his son, those land deals, and China.
Earlier this month, Reid tweeted kind words for fellow Senate leader Bob Dole.
My statement on the passing of Senator Bob Dole. Landra and I offer our heartfelt condolences to his wife Elizabeth, daughter Robin, and the entire Dole family. pic.twitter.com/xsZ2HEES8Y
— Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid) December 7, 2021
Though a cause of death was not immediately clear, Reid had been battling cancer.