Pelosi will again lead House Democrats

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WASHINGTON -- Rep. Nancy Pelosi said yesterday she will run to keep her job as the Democratic leader in the House after a pair of elections that kept the party in the minority there, even as Democrats gained seats in the Senate and a second term for President Barack Obama.

"My colleagues made it very clear: 'Don't even think of leaving,' " the former House speaker said at a news conference, surrounded by women lawmakers.

Republicans reacted with derision.

"There is no better person to preside over the most liberal House Democratic caucus in history than the woman who is solely responsible for relegating it to a prolonged minority status," said Paul Lindsay, spokesman for the National Republican Campaign Committee. "This decision signals that House Democrats have absolutely no interest in regaining the trust and confidence of the American people who took the speaker's gavel away from Nancy Pelosi in the first place."

The announcement was one of several yesterday that would give more clarity to the leadership and direction of the next Congress. Voters last week added two seats to the Senate Democratic majority and as many as eight to Pelosi's caucus in the House, where the Republicans maintain majority.

As in the House, the Senate retains its top leaders: Nevada Democrat Harry Reid and Kentucky Republican Mitch McConnell. And, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) remains policy committee chairman.

Republicans elected Texas Sen. John Cornyn as whip, South Dakota Sen. John Thune the GOP conference chairman, Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso policy committee chairman and Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the party's campaign arm.

Majority Democrats re-elected much the same leadership slate: Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin remains whip. But Washington Sen. Patty Murray will serve as secretary, leaving open the chairmanship of the Democrats' campaign committee. Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet was said by Democratic officials to be a leading contender for that spot.

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Pelosi's colleagues had said for days that the top leadership post was hers if she wanted it in the next Congress that begins in January.

Pelosi, 72, has represented a San Francisco area district in the House for a quarter century, including a stint as the first woman in history to serve as speaker. The tea party-fueled political wave of 2010 forced the gavel from her hand to Ohio Republican Rep. John Boehner.

At her morning news conference, Pelosi said, "We're very, very proud" of how large a role women played in the Nov. 6 election. We don't have the gavel" of majority status, she said, "but we have unity."

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