Democrats in the US Senate increased their voting edge to 10 with a newly elected independent saying Wednesday he will align with them.
The former Maine governor was elected last week to replace retiring Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe, a prominent centrist. Republican and conservative groups spent millions of dollars to attack King during the campaign for Snowe's seat.
With King joining their caucus, Democrats will have a 55 to 45 edge when the new Senate takes office in January. The balance for the Democrats in the current Senate is 53-47. Republicans control the House of Representatives, meaning re-elected President Barack Obama will have to contend with a divided legislative branch.
King said Wednesday that caucusing with Democrats will still allow him to take independent positions on issues.
In the House, former speaker Nancy Pelosi said she will run to keep her job as Democratic leader there after a pair of elections that kept the party in the minority.
"My colleagues made it very clear: 'Don't even think of leaving,' "she said at a news conference surrounded by women lawmakers. " I have made a decision to submit my name to my colleagues to once again serve as the House Democratic leader. " She is certain to win.
Pelosi, 72, who has served in Congress for a quarter of a century representing a San Francisco district became the first woman speaker of the House but the conservative tea-party fueled political wave of 2010 forced her to turn over the gavel to Rep. John Boehner, an Ohio Republican.
Pelosi made the decision to remain at the helm of the party's House leadership even though Democrats failed to win the necessary 25 additional seats to become the majority party again. Democrats gained at most eight seats and Republicans will keep their majority.
Her Democratic colleagues have said for days that the top leadership post was hers if she wanted it in the next Congress, which convenes in January.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.