Shimkus says he's been asked to reconsider retirement

Rep. John ShimkusJohn Mondy ShimkusRepublicans eye legislation to rival Democrats' sweeping climate plan Overnight Energy: House passes sweeping bill on 'forever chemicals' | Green groups question Pentagon about burning of toxic chemicals | Steyer plan would open US to climate refugees House passes sweeping bill to target spread of toxic 'forever chemicals' 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 Owen McCarthyCalifornia sues Trump administration over fracking Trump: Impeachment timing intended to hurt Sanders Overnight Energy: Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate impact | Republicans offer details on their environmental proposals | Microsoft aims to be carbon negative by 2030 MORE (R-Calif.) or Rep. Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Sanders, Warren feud rattles Democrats House GOP campaign chief: Members 'need to get their act together and raise more money' House GOP campaign arm faces ethics complaint over 'trackers' in Capitol buildings 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 WaldenOvernight Energy: Schumer votes against USMCA, citing climate impact | Republicans offer details on their environmental proposals | Microsoft aims to be carbon negative by 2030 Republicans offer details on environmental proposals after Democrats roll out plan Overnight Energy: Cost analysis backing BLM move comes under scrutiny | Republicans eye legislation to rival Dems' climate plan | Report claims top global risks all climate-related 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 RodgersKoch network could target almost 200 races in 2020, official says Lawmakers voice skepticism over Facebook's deepfake ban House Ethics Committee finds McMorris Rodgers misused official resources 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 BurgessOvernight Health Care: Big Pharma looks to stem losses after trade deal defeat | House panel to examine federal marijuana policies | House GOP reopens investigation into opioid manufacturers Lawmakers express alarm over rise in cocaine overdose deaths Hillicon Valley: House passes anti-robocall bill | Senators inch forward on privacy legislation | Trump escalates fight over tech tax | Illinois families sue TikTok | Senators get classified briefing on ransomware 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 UptonThe rise of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2019 The Memo: Impeachment's scars cut deep with Trump, say those who know him Hillary Clinton defends Dingell as 'everything that Trump is not' 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 ScaliseTrump welcomes LSU to the White House: 'Go Tigers' Republicans criticize Pelosi for gifting pens used to sign impeachment articles The Hill's Morning Report - Impeachment trial a week away; debate night MORE (R-La.) and Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyTrump economic aide says new tax proposal could be unveiled this summer Hoyer: Democratic chairmen trying to bridge divide on surprise medical bills On The Money: House approves Trump USMCA deal in bipartisan vote | Senate sends .4T spending bill to Trump's desk | Why budget watchdogs are howling over the spending deal 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 DavisBoth sides of the aisle call for local, state, federal cooperation on homelessness Voting equipment companies throw weight behind enhanced disclosures Voting machine vendors to testify on election security 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 John TrumpTrump's newest Russia adviser, Andrew Peek, leaves post: report Hawley expects McConnell's final impeachment resolution to give White House defense ability to motion to dismiss Trump rips New York City sea wall: 'Costly, foolish' and 'environmentally unfriendly idea' 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.