Shimkus says he's been asked to reconsider retirement

Rep. John ShimkusJohn Mondy ShimkusBottom line Bottom Line Overnight Energy: Trump rolls back Obama-era fuel efficiency standards | Controversial Keystone XL construction to proceed | Pressure mounts to close national parks amid pandemic 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 McCarthyCongress under pressure to provide billions for school openings Supreme Court rulings reignite Trump oversight wars in Congress The Hill's Campaign Report: Florida's coronavirus surge raises questions about GOP convention MORE (R-Calif.) or Rep. Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerHouse Republicans voice optimism on winning back the House following special election victories GOP pulls support from California House candidate over 'unacceptable' social media posts Trump campaign launches new fundraising program with House Republicans 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 WaldenRepublicans are working to close the digital divide Fauci gives Congress COVID-19 warning Fauci: We need more testing, not less 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 RodgersGOP lawmakers voice support for Israeli plan to annex areas in West Bank Trio of GOP lawmakers asks Zoom to clarify China ties after it suspends accounts Bipartisan senators call for investigation of TikTok's child privacy policies 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 BurgessTechnical difficulties mar several remote House hearings The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Moniz says U.S. needs energy jobs coalition and Manchin says Congress is pushing Wall Street solutions that don't work for Main Street; Burr to step aside The Hill's 12:30 Report: House returns to DC for coronavirus relief 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 UptonGOP lawmaker: Refusal to wear masks is 'tragic' The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Teachers' union President Randi Weingarten calls Trump administration plan to reopen schools 'a train wreck'; US surpasses 3 million COVID-19 cases Karen Bass's star rises after leading police reform push 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 ScaliseCheney clashes with Trump The Hill's Morning Report - Republicans shift, urge people to wear masks GOP-Trump fractures on masks open up MORE (R-La.) and Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradySupreme Court rulings reignite Trump oversight wars in Congress House fires back at Trump by passing ObamaCare expansion Congress set for fight over expiring unemployment relief 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 DavisThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Fauci says focus should be on pausing reopenings rather than reverting to shutdowns; WHO director pleads for international unity in pandemic response State and local officials beg Congress to send more election funds ahead of November The Hill's Coronavirus Report: Teachers' union President Randi Weingarten calls Trump administration plan to reopen schools 'a train wreck'; US surpasses 3 million COVID-19 cases 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 TrumpDavis: Supreme Court decision is bad news for Trump, good news for Vance Meadows trying to root out suspected White House leakers by feeding them info: Axios Pressley hits DeVos over reopening schools: 'I wouldn't trust you to care for a house plant let alone my child' 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.