Pelosi Holds Steady as Democrats Recalibrate

WASHINGTON (CN) – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi will retain her post for an eighth term, after the California Democrat handily beat out her sole challenger on Wednesday.

Rep. Tim Ryan, a seven-term lawmaker from Ohio, launched his bid for leadership of the Democratic caucus several weeks ago as a response to the surprising election results, which left the party in disarray and its future direction uncertain.

Ryan’s challenge to 76-year-old Pelosi, who has led the party since 2002, became a stand-in battle over who should steer the Democrats as they seek to regain footing and reconnect with working-class voters. Ryan, 43, hails from a blue-collar district in Ohio.

Pelosi won with 134 votes to Ryan’s 63 in a secret ballot election. Unchallenged since 2010, Pelosi was pushed through Ryan’s bold challenge to offer structural leadership changes. Among these are more opportunities for junior lawmakers who have long complained of being blocked from the upper echelon of the party’s leadership.

Democrats also re-elected Maryland’s Steny H. Hoyer as whip, the party’s second-tier leadership position, and Rep. James E. Clyburn of South Carolina as the assistant Democratic leader, the third-ranked spot.