House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced she will seek re-election, ending speculation that she would retire as Democrats face the threat of losing control of Congress in the 2022 midterms.
“While we have made progress, much more needs to be done to improve people’s lives,” the 81-year-old Ms Pelosi said in an online video.
“This election is crucial. Nothing less is at stake than our democracy,” she added.
By announcing she would seek a 19th term, Ms Pelosi avoids becoming a lame duck in a year when Democrats are clinging to a fragile majority in the House and the party is under pressure to raise vast sums of money to defend control of Congress.
Her decision to remain in the chamber follows announcements by 29 House Democrats that they will not seek reelection this year, compared to 13 Republicans as the party looks toward taking back the House.
The party that controls the White House typically loses seats in Congress in midterm elections, and Democrats are defending both chambers at a time when President Joe Biden’s approval rating has been slipping.
“Our democracy is at risk because the assault on the truth, assault on the US Capitol and the state-by-state assault on voting rights,” she added.
In the video, Ms Pelosi never addresses if she intends to seek another term as the House’s Democratic leader, if reelected.
The San Francisco Democrat made history 15 years ago when she became the first female speaker of the House.
She has served in Congress since 1987.
Earlier this month, Ms Pelosi only hinted at another run, saying she “may” seek reelection.
In a Twitter post, California Republican Kevin Kiley, a congressional candidate and state assemblyman, said Ms Pelosi’s announcement was “all the more reason we need Republicans in Congress who will fight”.
Ms Pelosi will be a overwhelming favourite in her heavily Democratic district, she won with 78% of the vote in 2020.
But she is also running at a time when her hometown has been criticised for squalor and crime, including daytime shootings in tourist areas, widespread homelessness and smash-and-grab thefts at high-end stores.