Path to Power
Reid grew up poor in Searchlight, Nevada, the son of an alcoholic miner who eventually killed himself and a mother who did laundry for a bordello. Reid hitchhiked 40 miles every week to the nearest high school, where he met his civics teacher, boxing coach and mentor Donal N. "Mike" O'Callaghan. O'Callaghan guided Reid through college, law school and into public office.
After earning his bachelor's degree from Utah State University, where Reid and his wife converted to Mormonism, he moved to Washington to attend law school at George Washington University. While at school, he worked for the U.S. Capitol Police, a job he got thanks to a few calls placed by O'Callaghan.
In a party of hard-line liberals, Reid is a voice of moderation. He has voted for a ban on late-term abortions and against a resolution endorsing Roe v. Wade. He is opposed to most gun-control legislation and voted to authorize the Iraq war and in the Persian Gulf in 1990.
Still, Reid has implemented a solidly Democratic agenda and voted with his party 94.6 percent of the time in the 110th Congress.
In the Senate, Reid was good friends with former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle.
Despite their partisan differences and the fact they ran against each other in 1998, he also works closely with fellow Nevada Senator and Republican John Ensign. The pair co-host a weekly breakfast at the Capitol every Thursday.