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Updated: 6:57 p.m.
Longtime Senate aide Jim Manley said Thursday that he will step down from his post as senior communications adviser to Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
“After more than 20 years in the Senate, including 6 years with Senator Reid, it’s about time for me to try something new,” Manley said in a statement provided to Roll Call.
He said he has the utmost “admiration” for Reid who has “taught me a hell of a lot.”
Manley said he would make his departure before the end of the year and is not yet certain what position he would move into. But he indicated he is not looking for another Capitol Hill job.
Manley has worked for titans of the Senate in his storied career. His first job on the Hill was as a press assistant for former Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-Maine). After three and a half years with Mitchell, Manley moved to the late-Sen. Edward Kennedy’s press operation. Over the course of more than 11 years, Manley worked his way up from assistant press secretary to become one of the Massachusetts Democrat’s key communications staffers for the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.
In 2004, Reid lured Manley away from Kennedy’s office to start a new Democratic “war room” designed to aggressively combat the GOP Congressional majority and President George W. Bush.
Manley’s departure comes on the heels of Reid’s decision to replace his chief of staff, Gary Myrick, with his deputy chief of staff, David Krone. Myrick will become the new Democratic secretary, who essentially acts as the personal parliamentarian for the leader and the caucus.
Reid announced this week that he is folding the war room into the Democratic Policy Committee to consolidate the caucus’ message operations in the 112th Congress. The joint operation will be headed by Reid’s No. 3 lieutenant, Conference Vice Chairman Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). Some Reid staffers are expected to continue working in that operation, but it was not immediately clear who those people would be or if Krone wants to bring in his own loyalists.
Reid issued a statement Thursday evening praising Manley and wishing him well. “Jim has been the gold standard in his profession,” the Senator said. “He represents the very best of our party and our country, and there are countless young communicators who owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for paving the way.”
He added: “Our office will sorely miss Jim’s insight, candor and sense of humor, all of which have made it easier for me to do my job. Jim has earned the respect of Senators and staff members on both sides of the aisle, and I am proud to call him a friend.”