House Speaker Nancy Pelosi will run
to lead the chamber’s Democratic minority in the new Congress, she announced Friday.
Pelosi announced her decision first on Twitter, and the report was quickly confirmed by her office.
In a statement, she said she was “driven by the urgency of creating jobs and protecting” healthcare and Wall Street reforms, Social Security and Medicare.
“As a result of Tuesday’s election, the role of Democrats in the 112th Congress will change, but our commitment to serving the American people will not,” she said in the statement. “We have no intention of allowing our great achievements to be rolled back. It is my hope that we can work in a bipartisan way to create jobs and strengthen the middle class.”
In the immediate aftermath of Democrats’ losses Tuesday, Pelosi had said she would first speak with her colleagues before making a decision. Friday’s announcement follows a conference call with other Democratic leaders.
Some conservative Democrats have already said they would not back her to lead the party in the House, including Utah’s Jim Matheson, who leads the conservative Blue Dog Caucus.
In 2007, Pelosi, who represents a San Francisco district in the House, became the first woman to serve a speaker.
The news was greeted enthusiastically by Republicans, who said they relish the prospect of using her as a foil in 2012 as they did in 2010.
The Republican National Committee, which sponsored a nationwide “Fire Pelosi” bus tour during the campaign, unfurled a “Hire Pelosi” banner outside of the party’s headquarters in Washington Friday.
“Given that there are now 60-plus defeated Democrat House members urgently seeking jobs due to Nancy Pelosi’s failed leadership, we welcome her decision to run for House Minority Leader based on her proven ability to create jobs for Republican lawmakers,” said Ken Spain, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.
The White House signaled that President Obama was supportive of Pelosi’s choice, though he would not get involved in the race.
“As the president has said before, he appreciates the work of the speaker and the entire House Democratic leadership team, who’ve been great partners in moving the country forward. He looks forward to working with them in years to come,” press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters on Air Force One traveling with Obama to India.
Meanwhile, a fight appears to be shaping up for other leadership posts for the Democratic caucus. South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, currently Democratic whip, announced he would seek the same position in the new Congress. That would leave Maryland Rep. Steny Hoyer, currently the majority leader, without a leadership position unless he were to challenge Clyburn.