Domenici hopes to repair rift with Harry Reid

Former Sen. Pete Domenici says he’s surprised that he’s been shut out by his old friend, Sen. Harry Reid, but hopes to repair their relationship tattered by disclosure of a long-ago extramarital relationship.

The Republican from New Mexico was contacted by the Albuquerque Journal on Wednesday for a reaction to the news he and Reid were on the outs, at least as far as Reid was concerned.

Reid told staffers at the Las Vegas Review-Journal last Friday that he refused to grant Domenici an appointment recently when the longtime but now retired senator tried to schedule a meeting.

“I don’t mention Domenici’s name anymore because of what he did to Michelle Laxalt,” Reid said. Domenici disclosed in February that he had fathered a son out of wedlock 35 years ago with Laxalt, the daughter of then-Sen. Paul Laxalt of Nevada.

“I’m surprised he had anything to say about this matter that happened 35 years ago,” Domenici, who still lives in Washington after leaving office in 2008, told the Journal. He called the paper back later to add he hoped his relationship with Reid might be repaired.

“I have occasion to call him every now and then. Harry has been a longtime friend,” Domenici said. “I’m sorry for what happened 35 years ago, and I look forward to any opportunity to talk with him about these matters.”

Domenici was 46 and Michelle Laxalt was 24 when they had what Laxalt called a “one-night mistake” that Domenici said was kept secret at Laxalt’s request. They disclosed it to the Albuquerque Journal in February believing someone intended to make it public in an attempt to smear Domenici, now 81.

Their son, Adam Laxalt, is a former Navy officer and a lawyer in Las Vegas.