Rep. Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, retained the House speaker’s gavel Sunday, pulling off a high-wire balancing act by getting a slim majority in the closely-divided chamber.
It was the first test for her party’s new dynamic — one of the thinnest majorities to control the floor of the House in decades.
Mrs. Pelosi secured at least 216 votes, just more than enough to lock down the majority.
It is her fourth term as speaker, and likely her last as the 80-year-old Democrat promised her members last term that she would not serve more than four years in the position.
While more moderate Democrats waned in their support for Mrs. Pelosi, she locked down support from her party’s younger progressives.
Newly elected Reps. Cori Bush of Missouri and Jamaal Bowman of New York were both noncommittal last week about their support for the speaker ahead of the vote, but ended up casting their bids for Mrs. Pelosi.
Two of her members — Reps. Jared Golden of Maine and Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania — voted against Mrs. Pelosi, nominating others in her stead.
Meanwhile, three Democrats voted “present,” effectively removing themselves from the count: Reps. Mikie Sherrill of New Jersey, Elissa Slotkin of Michigan, and Abigail Spanberger of Virginia.
Along with the establishment wing of her party, Mrs. Pelosi also secured support from original ‘Squad’ members Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts.
“You know we are just … [an] extremely slim amount of votes away from risking the speakership to the Republican Party and this is — it’s bigger than any one of us,” Ms. Ocasio-Cortez told reporters.
Mr. McCarthy did not lose a single Republican vote, earning 209 votes.