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Nancy Pelosi retains House minority leader position

WASHINGTON — House Democrats have re-elected Nancy Pelosi as their leader.

The California lawmaker, who has led the party since 2002, turned back a challenge from Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan on Wednesday.

Her win came despite disenchantment among some in the Democratic caucus over the party’s disappointing performance in the elections earlier this month. Democrats will remain in the minority in the House and Senate next year and won’t have the presidency as a bulwark against Republicans.

Democrats were also choosing other leaders during the closed-door session that was expected to take several hours.

There is a contest for the position of conference vice chair between two California Democrats, Linda Sanchez and Barbara Lee. Either would become the first minority woman in leadership.

On the eve of the House leadership elections, 85-year-old Rep. Sander Levin, the top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, said he will not seek re-election to the panel post, clearing the way for a younger lawmaker to move into the spot on the powerful committee. Rep. Xavier Becerra of California and Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts told House Democrats they are interested in the position.

Republicans are on track to hold at least 240 seats in the House next year. Democrats, who had high hopes of significant gains in the election, picked up just six seats on Election Day earlier this month and remain in the minority with 194 seats.

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