Harry M. Reid, a Power in the Senate, Dies at 82


But the Democratic caucus included senators across the ideological spectrum and, with few moderate Republicans left, it took all of Mr. Reid’s legislative acumen, doggedness and even shamelessness to win some close votes. On the health law, for example, he offered Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska a generous expansion of Medicaid funding in his state, a deal that critics called “the Cornhusker Kickback.”

Mr. Reid’s hard-nosed tactics handed Democrats a series of major achievements, but he enraged Republicans and was vulnerable to defeat entering what would be his final re-election campaign in 2010.

He overcame his own unpopularity by meddling in the Republican primary, as his allies undermined a potentially strong candidate and helped lift a far-right conservative, Sharron Angle, who was herself as gaffe-prone as Mr. Reid. He won the general election comfortably even as the…

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