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Shimkus says he's been asked to reconsider retirement

Rep. John ShimkusJohn Mondy ShimkusGrowing number of House Republicans warm to proxy voting House Republicans who didn't sign onto the Texas lawsuit Here are the 17 GOP women newly elected to the House this year MORE (R-Ill.), who announced this summer he won’t run for reelection in 2020, said Monday night he has been asked to reconsider his decision. 

In a brief interview with The Hill outside the Capitol, the 23-year veteran lawmaker declined to say whether House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyRepublican rips GOP lawmakers for voting by proxy from CPAC This week: Senate takes up coronavirus relief after minimum wage setback Trump calls on Republicans to 'get rid' of Cheney, other GOP critics MORE (R-Calif.) or Rep. Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerHouse panel spars over GameStop frenzy, trading apps The Hill's Morning Report - Biden on COVID-19: Next year Americans will be 'better off' NRCC finance chair: Republicans who voted for Trump impeachment will not be penalized MORE (R-Minn.), the House GOP campaign arm's chief, had asked him to run again.

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Shimkus, 61, also declined to say whether he was seriously entertaining the idea. 

But his remarks come at an interesting time. Earlier Monday, longtime Oregon Rep. Greg WaldenGregory (Greg) Paul WaldenHere are the three GOP lawmakers who voted for the Equality Act Lobbying world Bottom line MORE, the top Republican on the influential House Energy and Commerce Committee, announced that he would retire at the end of this term, even though he could have served in the top job through January 2023. 

Walden had defeated both Shimkus and then-Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) for the Energy and Commerce gavel in a hotly contested 2016 race. Barton had previously served as chairman, and Shimkus had more seniority than Walden on the committee.

If Shimkus were to change his mind and run for reelection next year, he almost certainly would vie for the top slot on Energy and Commerce.

So far, former House GOP Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersHillicon Valley: Biden signs order on chips | Hearing on media misinformation | Facebook's deal with Australia | CIA nominee on SolarWinds Democrats' letter targeting Fox, Newsmax for misinformation sparks clash during hearing House panel to dive into misinformation debate MORE (R-Wash.) is signaling she will run for the top Energy and Commerce job, sources told The Hill. Other senior members of the panel, including Reps. Michael BurgessMichael Clifton BurgessAmericans have decided to give professionals a chance Six ways to visualize a divided America Capitol Police tribute turns political MORE (R-Texas) and Bob Latta (R-Ohio), also could run.

Shimkus is the second-most senior member of the committee, behind only Rep. Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonUpton censured for vote to remove Marjorie Taylor Greene from Education Committee Is the 'civil war' in the Republican Party really over? Michigan GOP committee deadlocks on resolution to censure Meijer over impeachment vote MORE (R-Mich.), who already served as Energy and Commerce chairman. It’s unclear if he would try to exercise his seniority and serve again after taking a brief break from the top GOP post due to the GOP’s six-year term limit. 

Shimkus would have plenty of powerful allies if he decided to run again. He has been roommates and close friends with House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseRepublican rips GOP lawmakers for voting by proxy from CPAC Merrick Garland is right to prioritize domestic terrorism, but he'll need a bigger boat Why Congress must invoke the 14th Amendment now MORE (R-La.) and Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyForeign perpetrators among fraudsters shamming state's unemployment systems Biden nominee previews post-Trump trade agenda New CDC guidance ends up deepening debate over reopening schools MORE (R-Texas), the top Republican on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. 

“I’d love to have John Shimkus here for as long as possible,” said Rep. Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisLawmakers propose draft bill to create Capitol riot commission Pelosi says 9/11-style commission to investigate Capitol breach is 'next step' Conservative House Republican welcomes Clark as chief of US Chamber MORE, a fellow Illinois Republican who served as Shimkus’s district projects director and campaign manager before winning a seat in Congress. 

“I support John Shimkus in almost everything he does, but I think that hypothetical is a very big if,” he added.

One big challenge standing in the way of a Shimkus’s return: Two weeks ago, he called President TrumpDonald TrumpProsecutors focus Trump Organization probe on company's financial officer: report WHO official says it's 'premature' to think pandemic will be over by end of year Romney released from hospital after fall over the weekend MORE’s decision to pull U.S. troops out of Syria “despicable” and said he no longer supports the leader of his party.

In an interview with St. Louis radio station KMOX, Shimkus recounted how, after the Syria announcement, he told his chief of staff to “pull my name off the ‘I support Donald Trump’ list.”

Shimkus would be the favorite to win the ruby-red congressional seat, though a number of local politicians and residents have already filed paperwork or announced their plans to run for the vacant seat.