WASHINGTON – Despite widespread complaints about massive losses that will put Democrats in the minority, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she will try to stay on as leader of her party in the House.

The decision exposed a rift between Pelosi’s liberal allies and the dwindling number of moderate Democrats, who feel besieged and eager for substantive and symbolic changes in direction after Tuesday’s Republican rout. It also is likely to trigger leadership battles farther down the ladder.

Pelosi, the nation’s first female speaker, said many colleagues urged her to seek the post of minority leader in the new Congress that convenes in January. Republicans, who grabbed more than 60 Democratic-held seats Tuesday, will elect the next speaker. It will be John Boehner of Ohio.

Allies said Pelosi, 70, would not make the bid unless she felt certain she had the votes. Her caucus is more heavily liberal now that many moderate Democrats lost on Tuesday.