Reid wishes he could stay in the Senate 'til I drop dead'
© Cameron Lancaster

Minority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidBottom Line Biden owes us an answer on court-packing Progressive group: Feinstein must step down as top Democrat on Judiciary panel MORE (D-Nev.) said Thursday he wishes he could stay in the Senate “'til I drop dead," even though he is not seeking reelection in November.

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"Well, I wish I could stay here 'til I drop dead, but I want to be remembered for my first 34 years, not my last six," Reid said in an interview with The Takeaway podcast. "I want everyone within the sound of my voice here today to understand what a joy it's been, an honor for me to serve in the Senate."

The Nevada senator reflected on his unpopularity among some of his colleagues but expressed no regrets. 

"I have been somewhat envious of my friends who go through this institution and everyone kind of likes them, but I would rather be who I am," he said, recalling the flak he received for saying the U.S. lost the Iraq War. "I have to be candid. I think I sleep much better at night knowing not everyone agrees with me. " 

Reid, 76, announced his retirement after a serious eye injury at the beginning of last year, but he said he has been thinking about ending his Senate career for a long time.

Reid began his 34-year career in Congress with the House in 1983 but didn't stay there long. He won a seat in the Senate in 1986. He served as the Senate Majority Leader from 2007 to 2015, until Republicans gained the majority.

Reid's departure has created a hotly contested battle for his seat, with Republicans hoping to win and keep the Senate after the next cycle. Sharron Angle, a Tea Party Republican, will face off against Rep. Joe Heck in the primary. On the Democratic side, Catherine Cortez Masto, a former state attorney general, will run against Black Lives Matter activist Allen Rheinhart.