Congress

McCaskill refuses to vote for Harry Reid as Senate minority leader

Sen-elect Tom Cotton, R-Ark., right, shakes hands with Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 12, 2014, as new Senators arrive.
Sen-elect Tom Cotton, R-Ark., right, shakes hands with Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 12, 2014, as new Senators arrive. AP

Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill became the first Democrat to break publicly with Harry Reid on Thursday when she announced she would not vote for the Nevada lawmaker as Senate minority leader.

McCaskill’s vote was merely symbolic _ Reid was running unopposed and other Democrats easily elected him anyway _ but it prevented the party from presenting a united front after losing control of the Senate in midterm elections on Nov. 4.

As a Democrat from an increasingly red state, McCaskill had little to gain politically from supporting Reid, who is far from popular in Missouri. What fallout she might face from party leadership for her rebellion isn’t yet clear.

She said she met with Reid on Wednesday to tell him she would oppose him.

“I heard the voters of Missouri loud and clear,” McCaskill said in a statement. “They want change in Washington. Common sense tells me that begins with changes in leadership.”

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