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Nancy Pelosi Won't Run for Leadership Post, Marking the End of an Era

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(CNN) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Thursday that she will relinquish her leadership post, after leading House Democrats for two decades, building a legacy as one of the most powerful and polarizing figures in American politics.Pelosi, the first and only woman to serve as speaker, said that she would continue to serve in the House, giving the next generation the opportunity to lead the House Democrats, who will be in the minority next year despite a better-than-expected midterm election performance."I will not seek reelection to Democratic leadership in the next Congress," said Pelosi in the House chamber. "For me, the hour has come for a new generation to lead the Democratic caucus that I so deeply respect, and I'm grateful that so many are ready and willing to shoulder this awesome responsibility."Pelosi, 82, rose to the top of the House Democratic caucus in 2002, after leading many in her party against a resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq.

She then guided Democrats as they rode the waves of popular opinion, seeing their power swell to a 257-seat majority after the 2008 elections, ultimately crash to a 188-seat minority, and then rise once again.Her political career was marked by an extraordinary ability to understand and overcome those political shifts, keeping conflicting factions of her party united in passing major legislation.

She earned the Speaker's gavel twice -- after the 2006 and 2018 elections -- and lost it after the 2010 elections.Of late, she has conducted a string of accomplishments with one of the slimmest party splits in history, passing a $1.9 trillion pandemic aid package last year and a $750 billion health care, energy and climate bill in August.Her legislative victories in.

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