Is Harry Reid Immortal?

What does it take to take down the 72-year-old Senate majority leader Harry Reid?

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What does it take to take down the 72-year-old Senate majority leader Harry Reid?

News broke yesterday Reid's motorcade was involved in a messy accident six car accident on the interstate in Nevada. It's unclear what caused the accident, but four of the six cars were part of Reid's motorcade. The other two were civilian vehicles. Reid walked away with only a few rib and hip contusions and will be OK. Always remember to wear your seat belt like Uncle Harry, kids.

When news of the crash was still fresh, Buzzfeed's John Stanton tweeted, "Resolved: Senator Reid is the Highlander." What is he talking about, you ask. Harry Reid looks nothing like Christopher Lambert. Well, this car accident isn't the first time Reid has dodged death.

The Stroke

Harry Reid had a mild stroke in 2005. Thankfully it happened just before the Senate's summer recess that year, so it gave Reid the downtime he needed to fully recoup himself before a more serious health scare could occur.

The Car Bomb

Reid served as the chairman of the Nevada State Gaming Commission for four years from 1977 to 1981. He was famously involved in an FBI sting of Jack Gordon, who to bribe Reid to allow new games in casinos, in 1978. A few years later, and after Gordon was out of prison, Reid's wife Landra found something suspicious on their car:

One day in 1981, Landra Reid noticed that the family station wagon was not running properly, and she discovered a cable under the hood and “something” sticking out of the gas tank. Police found a device that would have exploded had it been correctly grounded. Reid always blamed Gordon for the bomb, and the incident frightened his family—by then there were five children, four sons and a daughter—so that for a year they started the car by remote control. Gordon died in April, at the age of sixty-six, and his connection to the bombing attempt was never proved. 

That account was taken from this great 2005 New Yorker story on Reid that came out just before his stroke. It should also be mentioned that Reid was a three sport athlete in high school: he played baseball, was a guard on the football team, and was an amateur boxer. Those are three of the most physically dangerous sports one could possibly participate in. His wife and daughter are just as durable, having survived a nasty car crash two years ago.

What might give some weight to Stanton's theory is this, a quote delivered by his chief of staff Susan McCue in that New Yorker piece, that is a sort-of personal mantra of Reid's:

"No one is going to kill me over this."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.