Harry Reid, Former U.S. Senate Majority Leader, Dead At 82

Former Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has died at the age of 82, his wife, Landra, confirmed in an official statement obtained by the Associated Press Tuesday (December 28) evening.

Landra Reid said her husband died “peacefully” and was surrounded by friends after “a courageous, four-year battle with pancreatic cancer.”

“Harry was a devout family man and deeply loyal friend,” she said via the AP. “We greatly appreciate the outpouring of support from so many over these past few years. We are especially grateful for the doctors and nurses that cared for him. Please know that meant the world to him.”

Reid, a former boxer-turned-lawyer, began his political career on the Nevada Assembly for the multi-member fourth district of Clark County in 1968 before being chosen by eventual governor Mike O’Callaghan as his running mate for Lieutenant Governor of Nevada, with both winning their respective races in 1970.

Reid initially ran for U.S. Senate in 1974, but lost by fewer than 700 votes to former Nevada governor Paul Laxalt.

Reid served as the chair of the Nevada Gaming Commission from 1977-81 and as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives for Nevada’s 1st district from 1983-87 before being elected as a United States senator in 1987, a seat he held until January 3, 2017, surpassing John P. Jones as Nevada’s longest-serving U.S. Senator just two days ahead of the completion of his final term.

Reid served as the Senate majority leader from 2007-2015 — following Alben W. Barkley and Mike Mansfield as the only three senators to have served at least eight years as majority leader — and the Senate minority leader during his final two years in office, having been succeeded by Chuck Schumer, whose leadership bid was endorsed by Reid.

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