Reid plans to remain as leader


Eight months away from key elections where Democrats could lose their Senate majority -- or surprise pundits with a show of strength -- Sen. Harry Reid is signaling he plans to remain the party's leader "no matter what happens," Politico reports this morning.

Manu Raju and John Bresnahan report Reid "is moving to strengthen his hold" over the Democratic caucus and dismissing questions whether he might step aside if the party gets knocked into the minority.

"Why wouldn't I?" Reid, 72, told the news organization when asked if he planned to remain as leader if Democrats lose Senate control. "I still have five years left in my term."

"He’s privately meeting with senators from both parties to build personal relationships with his colleagues, and allies say the decision on Reid’s future -- even if Democrats lose their majority -- will be up to him," Politico reported.

One wild card: the health of his wife, Landra, who has been fighting breast cancer. "People close to Reid say they can sense the strain of his wife’s illness on the taciturn party boss," according to the report.

In conversations with more that two dozen senators and Reid allies, Politico found senators who marvel at Reid's staying power and others who see him as polarizing.

"Yet it is clear that Reid retains the loyalty of most of his colleagues, and it looks likely that he would even survive a Democratic loss of the Senate if he chose to run for leader again," according to the report.

Democrats are defending 23 out of 33 seats up for election in November, making it more than possible their caucus could lose its 53-47 majority.

But what looked like a possible wipeout scenario a few months ago has improved with signs of economic recovery and President Obama's improved poll numbers coupled with Republican missteps and what seems to be voters' diminishing interest in the tea party.