Shimkus to seek House Energy and Commerce gavel if Barton is denied

But the Texas Republican — who was politically damaged by his apology to BP in June — argues that he should be granted more time as chairman.

Barton served one term as Energy and Commerce chairman before assuming the role of ranking member when Democrats won control of the House in 2006.

“It’s up to the Steering Committee to interpret whether the rule really means one full term as chairman and then you’re out,” Barton spokeswoman Lisa Miller said Wednesday. “Mr. Barton is confident that they will look at the facts and make it possible for him to serve a second term.”

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) is a leading candidate for the top slot and is seeking to show his conservative bona fides.