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Pelosi wins House Dem Minority Leader post, 150-43

From NBC's Luke Russert, Shawna Thomas, and Carrie Dann
House Democrats voted Wednesday to retain Nancy Pelosi as their leader when they become the chamber's minority party in January.

By a vote of 150-43, House Democrats voted for the California lawmaker as their leader over challenger Rep. Heath Shuler of North Carolina.

Votes were cast by secret ballot.

Pelosi had four members speak on her behalf in the Democrats' closed-door meeting. She was nominated by Rep. Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania, who -- according to a high level source -- asked colleagues "how can we fold on her when she's not folding on us?" Reps. Henry Cuellar (TX), Gwen Moore (WI), and Jared Polis (CO) also spoke.

Shuler was nominated by Rep. Jim Matheson of Utah. Reps. Larry Kissell (NC) and Mike Ross (AR) spoke for Shuler during the nominating process as well, with Shuler speaking on his own behalf before the votes were taken.

Pelosi's Democratic critics hoped to postpone the leadership election until after the House's Thanksgiving break. That proposal failed by a 129-68 vote earlier today.

Pelosi's second-in-command will again be Maryland's Steny Hoyer, who was elected Minority Whip by acclamation rather than by recorded vote. A compromise between Hoyer and Rep. James Clyburn, who had threatened to challenge him for the job, paved the way for Hoyer's uncontested selection for the slot.

On the other side of the aisle, Rep. John Boehner of Ohio was unanimously elected by House Republicans to serve as their leader in the next Congress.

"The job of the next Speaker is to work to restore the institution ... restore it to being the People's House," said Boehner after being voted to the top post, according to excerpts of his speech. "It's not about us; it's about them."

Also Wednesday, Virginia Rep. Eric Cantor was selected by his Republican colleagues to serve as the Majority Leader for the 112th Congress.