GOP figures, who had spent the better part of the 2010 campaign looking to tie Democratic incumbents to the Speaker, welcomed Pelosi's announcement this afternoon that she would run for Democratic leader rather than resign her position and possibly resign from Congress.
"The Democrats' gift to Speaker Boehner: Pelosi as Minority Leader," said Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.), a deputy whip, on Twitter. "I endorse Nancy Pelosi for Minority Leader."
Rep. Greg Walden (Ore.), a member of the GOP leadership who's heading the party's transition to the majority, said he thought the focus on Pelosi would overshadow an emerging race between Reps. Jeb Hensarling (Texas) and Michele Bachmann (Minn.) for the chairmanship of the House Republican Conference.
"I'm intrigued by that, I think that will now eclipse the story you'd been focusing on, between Jeb and Michele, in terms of political intrigue in Washington,"he said on MSNBC, hearing the breaking news live on-air. He said he was a bit "surprised" by Pelosi's decision.
Republicans had made Pelosi a central villain in their successful bid to win back a majority in the House. Republican National Committee (RNC) Chairman Michael Steele had embarked in a "Fire Pelosi" bus campaign throughout the country in the closing month of the election season.
"Given that there are now 60-plus defeated Democrat House members urgently seeking jobs due to Nancy Pelosi’s failed leadership, we welcome her decision to run for House Minority Leader based on her proven ability to create jobs for Republican lawmakers," said National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) communications director Ken Spain.
"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result," Spain added. "Of course, if House Democrats are willing to sacrifice more of their members in 2012 for the glory of Nancy Pelosi, we are happy to oblige them."