14: House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) smiles while speaking to the media as female House Democrats gather around during a news conference at the U.S. Capitol, on November 14, 2012. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - Rep. Nancy Pelosi has decided she wants to remain the face of House Democrats.
After informing the Democratic caucus of her intentions, Pelosi held a news conference flanked by women lawmakers. For the first time, House Democrats will have a majority of women and minorities.
While noting Democrats don't wield the gavel, Pelosi said, "We have something more important. We have unity."
Pelosi, who represents a San Francisco district, will again seek the minority leader post despite a disappointing 2012 election performance in which Democrats gained only seven of the 25 seats they needed to wrest control from Republicans.
"There was a lot of curiosity, creating suspense," said Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn. "But, you know, no big surprise."
Pelosi has held a firm grip on the Democratic caucus since 2003 when she first took the reins of the party as minority leader. She led Democrats to the majority in 2006, making her the first female speaker of the House. She was demoted back to minority leader after the 2010 elections, when Republicans won control, and has held the job since.
Pelosi is not expected to face any serious challenge for the leader job, a testament to her enduring support among the rank-and-file. Democrats will hold leadership elections the week after Thanksgiving to formally re-elect Pelosi.
Democrats are also expected to re-elect Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Md., the party's No. 2 leader in the House.