House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi has retained her post as the chamber's top Democrat, following a challenge from Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan.
The 76-year-old California Democrat, known as a master vote counter, had been widely beat back the challenge.
But she was forced to promise changes to the caucus to answer complaints from lawmakers fed up with being shut out of the upper ranks of leadership, especially in the wake of a devastating election that installed a Republican monopoly over Congress and the White House.
Republicans are on track to hold at least 240 seats in the House next year.
Democrats, who had high hopes of significant gains in the election, picked up just six seats on Election Day earlier this month and remain in the minority with 194 seats.
Some information for this report was provided by AP