Reid, the 75-year-old who has led Senate Democrats since 2005, made his retirement announcement in a touching video message where he joked about the time he had left in office.
“My friend Sen. [Mitch] McConnell, don’t be too elated. I’m going to be here for 22 months,” he said referring to the Senate majority leader from Kentucky. “And you know what I’m going to be doing? The same thing I’ve done since I first came to the Senate.”
Reid, who suffered serious face injuries following an exercise accident in January, also insisted that his decision was not prompted by the incident, though he called it “an inconvenience.” The decision was not made based on his demotion to minority leader after the midterm elections either, Reid said.
“But,” he said in his message, “this accident has caused Landra and I 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.”
And about those bruises still visible on his face?
“Trust me they are nothing compared to some of the bruises I got when I was fighting in the ring,” he said in the video.
Read more on Reid’s three-decade-long congressional career here and watch his video departure message above.