If Republicans and potential Democratic rivals want Harry Reid’s majority leader title, they’re going to have to knock him out of the ring, because the former boxer has no intent to relinquish his position anytime soon.
“I don’t want to do it more than eight more years,” the Nevada Democrat said in a Wednesday interview with CQ Roll Call. He even indicated that other Democrats would only get their chance to lead the caucus if they pried the title from his cold, dead hands.
Asked if Democratic Conference Secretary Patty Murray’s recent stints as Reid’s negotiator-in-chief and political guru put the Washingtonian in a position to become leader, Reid quipped, “If I drop dead? I don’t know.”
He added, “I mean, I will someday. It’s just a question of if I do it while I’m here.”
Reid is up for re-election in 2016, and he reiterated Wednesday that he intends to run. If he and his Democrats are able to hold onto power for the next eight years, Reid would be the leader for 16 years, matching the record set by the legendary Montana Democrat Mike Mansfield.
But Reid dismissed the idea that he is looking to the Mansfield record as a marker. Reid celebrated his 74th birthday earlier this month, meaning he would be into his 80s by the time his next term would end at the beginning of 2023.
But the Nevada Democrat, who has seen his fair share of tough election battles back home, seems to have plenty of fight left in him — for the political, policy and procedural dust-ups that are sure to come.