Washington (CNN) - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and his wife, Landra, announced Monday they sold their family home in the famously tiny desert mining town of Searchlight, Nevada, where the senator grew up and will move near Las Vegas.
Reid said they want to live closer to their four children and 16 grandchildren. He said it also will make it easier to run for a sixth term when he is up for re-election in 2016.
"I've got a re-election coming up. I've been through a few elections commuting from Searchlight and it's hard," the 74-year-old senator said. "This will make that part of it much easier."
"Landra and I love Searchlight, the place of my birth, and the memories we have had there, but the time came to sell and do something different," Reid said. "Searchlight will always remain my home, my favorite spot in the world where I can look at the desert for miles at end."
When CNN's Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash profiled Reid in 2007, she described Searchlight as a "dried up mining town, a relic of the wild west, a truck stop 55 miles from Las Vegas" where most of the 800 residents lived in trailers and "the one house belongs to the new Senate majority leader Harry Reid: shaped and scarred in Searchlight."
And scarred he was.
Reid's father was a hard rock miner and a heavy drinker who took his own life. His mother did laundry for the 13 brothels in town to makes ends meet. There was no school in Searchlight so Reid hitchhiked to a school in Henderson, more than 40 miles away.
"We made a decision, a year or two ago, that if an opportunity came along we would sell our property," Reid said.
He pointed to "new technologies" that have brought "renewed interest in gold mining" to Searchlight as a reason he was able to sell.
The Reid's sold their house, 110 acres, mining claims and mining and water rights to Nevada Milling and Mining. Separately, they sold two other mining claims in Searchlight to American Capital Energy. The total value of the sales is $1.7 million.
The mines will bring 60 new jobs to Searchlight, Reid said.
When they are in Washington, D.C., the Reids live in less humble digs: a condo in the Ritz Carlton property downtown.
Standing in front of a cluster of trailer homes that sit on the property where his childhood home was, Reid explained to Bash seven years ago how he was able to escape the gambling and prostitution that dominated his beloved town and rise to the pinnacle of American politics.
"Even though I was raised here, my mother was always able to instill in me, I was as good as anybody else," he said.