Harry Reid's decision to retire in 2016 does not come as a huge surprise, but it does shake up Democratic Senate leadership and complicate matters for the party's hopes of retaking the upper chamber next year.
Sources close to Reid began suggesting late last year that the 75-year-old senator was not staffing up in a way that would indicate another run. And contrary to some early reporting, Reid's brutal exercise band accident is said to have made the former boxer from Searchlight, Nevada, more likely to run not less, just to show people he could.
Republicans, who loathe Reid with an unrestrained passion, celebrated the news, sometimes in a less than dignified manner.
"On the verge of losing his own election and after losing the majority, Sen. Harry Reid has decided to hang up his rusty spurs," the National Republican Senatorial Committee said in a prepared statement. "Not only does Reid instantly become irrelevant and a lame duck, his retirement signals that there is no hope for the Democrats to regain control of the Senate."
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The GOP hates Reid because many feel that all he cared about in his final years as majority leader was protecting vulnerable incumbents from difficult votes while making it impossible for Republicans to even get votes on amendments or legislation that had significant bipartisan support.
Democrats, of course, loved him for many of the same reasons as well as for his success in the first two years of the Obama administration in helping get health care and Wall Street reform passed and to the president's desk.
There could be a contested secret election to take over for Reid as leader in 2017 but the inside track belongs to Chuck Schumer of New York. He is currently third in leadership behind Dick Durbin of Illinois but is widely seen by insiders as a heavy favorite, especially given his successful run as DSCC chair from 2005 to 2009, a period that saw Democrats pick up 14 seats.
Schumer could have been the Banking Committee ranking member (and Wall Street wanted him to take it) but he passed on it, which many saw as an indication that he remained focused on becoming leader.