Republicans have unanimously chosen Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, as the new Speaker of the House. However, the drama of the day played out on the other side of the aisle, where Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., prevailed over her critics to remain the leader of House Democrats.
Yet, she doesn't have the full support of the Democratic caucus. In secret balloting, 43 House Democrats cast votes for her challenger, blue dog Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C.
The strong support for Shuler shows the degree of discontent among House Democrats. Shuler said his loss to Pelosi was expected, but serves as a warning that Democrats can't reject all Republican ideas all the time.
"It was about truly making a difference within our caucus, to ensure the moderates within our caucus are represented and have a place at the table," Shuler said. "To get that many votes that's a lot better a count than we expected."
Pelosi, 70, has refused to take the blame for her party's loss in the midterm elections, pinning it instead on the high unemployment.
"How would your ratings be if $75 million was spent against you?" Pelosi asked. "I'm an effective leader. We got the job done on healthcare, Wall street reform, consumer protections, the list goes on."
Pelosi's continued leadership is also surprising in that it bucks historic trends. Regent University's Dr. Charles Dunn told CBN News she could hurt her party.
"That's the greatest Christmas gift the Republican party could receive," Dunn said. "Now for the Democrats and history -- studies of history show that whenever a party loses a sign number of seats that party changes leadership that's the historic norm."
Boehner,60, was the Republicans unanimous choice for House speaker. He has told colleagues that his new majority will be "humbler, wiser and more focused than its predecessors on the priorities of the people."
The next two years will require a new set of strategies for both Boehner and Pelosi.
Republicans will control the House and will be able to fillibuster almost any U.S. Senate bill. President Barack Obama has already signaled he may seek compromises and this could infuriate Pelosi's liberal base.