The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Harry Reid

Harry Reid

Harry Mason Reid (born December 2, 1939) is the senior United States Senator from Nevada and a member of the Democratic Party, for which he serves as Minority Leader.

A Latter-day Saint and native of the small mining town of Searchlight, Nevada, his father was an alcoholic gold miner who committed suicide. Reid was a lawyer in the state before entering politics, serving a term in the Nevada state legislature and then being elected lieutenant governor in 1970. He served in that office until 1974.

Reid served as Nevada state gaming commissioner from 1977 to 1981, a post which subjected him to threats of danger. Reid's wife once found a bomb attached to one of their cars. A character in the film Casino played by Dick Smothers is based, in part, on Reid. Reid was also bribed by Jack Gordon (who would later manage and marry LaToya Jackson). Reid allowed the FBI to tape Gordon's attempt to bribe Reid with $12,000, at which point Reid attempted to strangle Gordon, saying "You son of a bitch, you tried to bribe me."

Reid was elected to the United States House of Representatives. He served two terms there, from 1983 to 1987, being reelected in 1984. He was elected to the Senate in 1986, succeeding the Republican incumbent, Paul Laxalt, who did not run in that election. Reid was reelected in 1992, 1998 and 2004. He narrowly defeated his Republican opponent in 1998, future Senator John Ensign (Ensign won Nevada's other Senate seat in 2000) and his Republican opponent in 2004 was Richard Ziser , whom Reid defeated by a vote of 61%-35%. Mike Ensign , Senator Ensign's father, contributed $2,000 to Reid's 2004 Senate campaign. In 1999, Reid became Minority Whip, and the right hand man of Minority Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota

On November 16, 2004, Reid was elected Senate Democratic Leader and Minority Leader for the 109th Congress , following Daschle's defeat in his bid for reelection.

Some consider Harry Reid pro-life, or an opponent of legalized abortion, because of his vote against support of Roe v. Wade in 2004. However, Reid has subsequently refused to state he wants Roe v. Wade overturned. Reid is currently also the only Democratic Mormon Senator. Four other members in the Senate are members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, but they are all Republican.

External links

  • Official website
  • Biography from "The First 100 Persons Who Shaped Southern Nevada"
  • "Harry Reid Is Not Boring" - by Chris Suellentrop,, Dec. 22, 2004

|- |width="30%" align="center"|Preceded by:
Tom Daschle |width="40%" align="center"|Senate Minority Leader
2005– |width="30%" align="center"|Succeeded by:
Incumbent |}

Last updated: 02-07-2005 07:16:18
Last updated: 05-03-2005 17:50:55