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In a letter to her Democratic House colleagues announcing her decision to run for minority leader, Mrs. Pelosi said “our work is far from finished.”

“Many of our colleagues have called with their recommendations on how to continue our fight for the middle class, and have encouraged me to run for House Democratic leader,” she said. “Based on those discussions, and driven by the urgency of protecting health care reform, Wall Street reform, and Social Security and Medicare, I have decided to run.”

House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said Friday that he is considering a run for House Democratic whip, a move that would clear the path for Mrs. Pelosi.

“I have received an outpouring of support from Democratic colleagues who have told me that I should remain in our party’s leadership, so that our caucus can hit the ground running with a strong, tested leadership team,” the Maryland Democrat said in a prepared statement.

But current House Democratic Whip James E. Clyburn of South Carolina said Friday he intends to seek re-election to the post.

Rep. John B. Larson of Connecticut also said Friday that he will seek re-election as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, another key position in the party’s hierarchy.