House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the first woman with this title, won a fourth non-consecutive term on Sunday, after the Democratic party lost seats, but kept control of the lower chamber. After serving for 17 years in charge of the House Democrats, Pelosi ran unopposed in her election. Many observers believe this will be her last term as Speaker.

She led the House from 2006 to 2011 and after Democrats took back the House in 2018.

“It gives (me) great pride to serve as speaker of the most diverse House of Representatives in the history of our country,” said Pelosi.

To win the speakership, Pelosi had to receive the majority of votes. In 2019, 15 Democrats voted against Pelosi, so she could only afford to lose a few votes in 2021.

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Facing the smallest Democratic majority in decades, Pelosi faced conflict, some in her party desiring new leadership and Republicans uniting against her.

Only two House Democrats — Reps. Jared Golden (D-Maine) and Conor Lamb (D- Pennsylvania) — supported someone else, respectively voting for Illinois Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Illinois) and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-New York).

Before the vote, Jeffries said on Fox News Sunday that Pelosi “will be the next speaker of the United States House of Representatives,” noting that there is “incredible enthusiasm” for the California Democrat to keep her post as she’s been a “historic, legendary legislative leader through incredibly turbulent times.”

She received 216 votes, which was enough considering a handful of members either voted present or the seats were vacant.

After losing a dozen seats in 2020, House Democrats are likely to control around 222 seats next term.

“If Nancy can do anything, it is that she knows how to count,” said Rep. Gerry Connolly, a Democrat from Virginia. “She is very aware of the fact that with a slim majority – with some members who voted against her two years ago – there is gonna have to be an effort to persuade them that that was then and this is now. We cannot afford to have uncertainty about the speakership.”

Pelosi told her members on a private call last week that her only enemy in the fight for speaker was COVID-19 because the virus could affect the number of members who could come to Washington and vote.

Some members voted through a “secure enclosure” since they were exposed to someone with the virus ben then tested negative. One Democratic member, Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wisconsin), announced she had tested positive for COVID-19 last week, revealing that she didn’t receive a negative test before voting but quarantined for two weeks.

“She is one of the few, clear leaders who can provide cohesion and leadership for the Democratic majority,” said Connolly. “I think she goes into this in a strong position, but clearly cognizant of challenges she faces in terms of numbers and the uncertainty of coronavirus.”

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