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Nancy Pelosi says she'll seek House reelection in 2024, dismissing talk of retirement at age 83

Former House Speaker Pelosi confirms plans to run for reelection in 2024
Former House Speaker Pelosi confirms plans to run for reelection in 2024 00:35

SAN FRANCISCO -- Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that she will run for reelection to another term in Congress as Democrats work to win back the majority in 2024.

Pelosi made the announcement before labor allies in the San Francisco area district she has represented for more than 35 years.

"Now more than ever our City needs us to advance San Francisco values and further our recovery," Pelosi, 83, said in a tweet. "Our country needs America to show the world that our flag is still there, with liberty and justice for ALL. That is why I am running for reelection — and respectfully ask for your vote."

Nancy Pelosi
Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi discusses her visit to Ukraine and her time as the Democratic leader in the House, April 19, 2023. J. Scott Applewhite / AP

Pelosi's decision comes with Republicans now in control of the House — but just narrowly, with a 222-212 majority and one vacancy. Democrats believe they have a chance to recapture the chamber as President Joe Biden runs for reelection to the White House.

The Pelosi announcement quells any talk of retirement for the long-serving leader, who, with the honorific title of speaker emeritus, remains an influential leader, pivotal party figure and strong fundraiser for Democrats.

It also unfolds as Washington is grappling with the sunset of a political era as an older generation of leaders — including Biden, 80 — face questions about their age. This week, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, 81, said he would finish his term as leader and senator despite concerns about his recent health episodes.

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California Sen. Dianne Feinstein has also been the subject of calls to retire before the end of her term. The 90-year-old senator was away from Washington, D.C., for almost three months earlier this year after she was hospitalized with shingles and complications from the disease. She spent weeks recovering at home in California, delaying Senate business.

But Pelosi has long charted her own course, from her arrival in Congress as one of few women elected to the House to her tenure as one of the most powerful women in U.S. politics.

First elected to Congress in 1987, the Democratic leader made history becoming the first female speaker in 2007, and in 2019 she regained the speaker's gavel.

Pelosi led the party through substantial legislative achievements, including passage of the Affordable Care Act, as well as turbulent times with two impeachments of President Donald Trump and the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

Her announcement comes as House Republicans are preparing to launch their own impeachment inquiry into Biden over the business dealings of his son, Hunter Biden.

While Pelosi has stepped away from the day-to-day political limelight after a younger generation of Democrats led by Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries took charge in 2023, she remains a political force keeping a robust schedule of public and private events.

Pelosi is among the party's most prolific fundraisers for the House and key political strategists. She has said she doesn't intend to hover over the new Democratic House leadership team, but she and Jeffries are often seen huddling quietly on the House floor.

It's rare, but not unprecedented, for former party leaders to continue in Congress as members.

Back in California, Pelosi's decision to seek another term is sure to disappoint other Democrats who have wanted a run for the congressional seat.

But Pelosi still has priorities she is trying to secure for her home state and especially San Francisco as the city works to recover from the coronavirus pandemic-era closures that dimmed other metro downtowns.

Pelosi has long been portrayed as a political villain by Republican critics, who view her as a far-left liberal and raise vast sums of their own using her image and actions.

Last year, her husband, Paul Pelosi, was seriously injured when an attacker broke into the family's San Francisco home, seeking the Democratic leader at a highly divisive time in American politics. A trial is expected.

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