Updated on November 30 at 1:05 p.m. ET
Nancy Pelosi will be the most powerful woman in Congress for another two years.
The veteran Democrat on Wednesday beat back a surprisingly strong challenge from Representative Tim Ryan of Ohio to win reelection as leader of the minority party in the U.S. House. In a secret ballot, Pelosi won 134 votes to Ryan’s 63—or just over two-thirds of the Democratic caucus.
The leadership race was the most difficult for Pelosi in the nearly 10 years since she became the first woman speaker of the House and the highest-ranking elected woman in the U.S. government. She lost significantly more votes on Wednesday than she did when she faced a challenge from Representative Heath Shuler of North Carolina in 2010 after Democrats lost the House majority. Shuler only won 43 votes.
Now 76, the California liberal has for years retained broad support within a Democratic caucus in the House that she ran with exacting control. But in the wake of Donald Trump’s surprising victory in the presidential election and a weaker-than-expected showing by House Democratic candidates, she faced opposition from dozens of lawmakers who believed the party needed a change at the top and a leader who could better connect with the white working-class voters who backed Trump. Republicans have now won the House majority in three straight elections, and Trump’s victory has prompted Democrats throughout the party to question whether their focus on cultural issues has kept them from winning races beyond their urban base of blacks, Hispanics, and liberal whites.