U.S. House Speaker Pelosi seeks re-election

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington
U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) speaks during her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S. January 20, 2022. Eric Lee/Pool via REUTERS

WASHINGTON, Jan 25 (Reuters) - U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said on Tuesday she will run for a 19th term in office, without saying whether she would seek to remain in her Democratic leadership role.

The 81-year-old California lawmaker was the first woman to serve as speaker and had been expected to step down, particularly as her party braces for a possible loss of its majority in the Nov. 8 midterm elections.

It was not immediately clear if she would honor an agreement she made to secure an unprecedented second term as speaker after the 2018 election to serve only two additional terms in the role and pave the way for a new generation to ascend to House Democratic leadership.

Pelosi's office declined to answer questions as to whether she would seek the speaker's gavel again. "The Speaker is not on a shift, she's on a mission," a senior aide said.

It would not be unprecedented for a speaker to run again for re-election and then announce later a decision not to seek the top leadership post again.

In 2006, then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert, a Republican, easily won re-election to his House seat, even though Democrats won control of the House and Senate in those elections.

Immediately after Election Day, Hastert said he would not seek a leadership position in the Congress convening in January 2007.

Hastert resigned from Congress altogether later in 2007.

"While we have made progress much more needs to be done to improve people's lives. This election is crucial: nothing less is at stake than our Democracy," Pelosi said in a video posted on Twitter.

Though Democrats are preparing for a likely difficult election season this fall, Pelosi's seat is considered to be a safe one for the party to hold on to.

Reporting by Makini Brice, Eric Beech and Richard Cowan; Editing by Scott Malone and Sandra Maler

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