United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced she will seek re-election, ending speculation that the 81-year-old legislator would retire amid fears her Democratic Party would lose control of Congress in the 2022 midterms.
The announcement also means that Pelosi, who will be seeking her 19th term, will avoid becoming a so-called lame duck in a year when Democrats are clinging to a fragile majority in the House of Representatives and the party is under pressure to raise vast sums of money to defend control of Congress.
“While we have made progress, much more needs to be done to improve people’s lives,” Pelosi said in an online video on Tuesday.
“This election is crucial. Nothing less is at stake than our democracy,” she added.
In the US, the political party that controls the White House typically loses seats in Congress in midterm elections. Democrats are defending both the House and the Senate at a time when President Joe Biden’s approval rating has been slipping.
Pelosi, who represents a district in California that includes San Francisco, made history 15 years ago when she became the first female speaker of the House.
She has served in Congress since 1987.
In the video, Pelosi does not address if she intends to seek another term as the House’s Democratic leader. She was narrowly re-elected to the role in January of 2021, defeating Republican Kevin McCarthy 216–209 with five Democrats in the chamber opting not to support her.
She is considered an overwhelming favourite to win her heavily Democratic district, which she won by 78 percent in 2020.
Pelosi referenced recent attempts to subvert the presidential election results, fuelled by a misinformation campaign by former President Donald Trump, as motivation for her run.
“Our democracy is at risk because [of] the assault on the truth, assault on the US Capitol and the state-by-state assault on voting rights,” she added.