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Shimkus says he's been asked to reconsider retirement

Rep. John ShimkusJohn Mondy ShimkusEx-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Lobbying world Ex-Rep. John Shimkus joins lobbying firm 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 McCarthyTech antitrust bills create strange bedfellows in House markup Equilibrium — Presented by NextEra Energy — A new final frontier: Washing dirty laundry in space White House uses Trump's words praising China to slam McCarthy's Biden criticism MORE (R-Calif.) or Rep. Tom EmmerThomas (Tom) Earl EmmerHouse Democrats' campaign arm raises almost million in May Hillicon Valley: Senate unanimously confirms Chris Inglis as first White House cyber czar | Scrutiny mounts on Microsoft's surveillance technology | Senators unveil bill to crack down on cyber criminals Republican House campaign arm says it will begin soliciting cryptocurrency donations 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 WaldenEx-Sen. Cory Gardner joins lobbying firm Ex-Rep. John Shimkus joins lobbying firm Lobbying world 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 RodgersHouse GOP to launch climate caucus New Alzheimer's drug sparks backlash over FDA, pricing FDA approves first new Alzheimer's drug in almost 20 years 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 BurgessTexas Republicans condemn state Democrats for response to official calling Scott an 'Oreo' Americans have decided to give professionals a chance Six ways to visualize a divided America 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 UptonFauci: Emails highlight confusion about Trump administration's mixed messages early in pandemic Why Republican politicians are sticking with Trump Progressives nearly tank House Democrats' Capitol security bill 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 ScaliseOn The Money: Powell says pickup in job gains likely this fall | Schumer, Pelosi meeting with White House on infrastructure Powell says pickup in job gains likely this fall Hillicon Valley: Senate unanimously confirms Chris Inglis as first White House cyber czar | Scrutiny mounts on Microsoft's surveillance technology | Senators unveil bill to crack down on cyber criminals MORE (R-La.) and Rep. Kevin BradyKevin Patrick BradyMcConnell presses for 'actual consequences' in disclosure of tax data On The Money: House Democrats line up .5T in spending without budget | GOP takes aim at IRS | House Democrat mulls wealth tax Republicans open new line of attack on IRS 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 Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate path uncertain after House approves Jan. 6 panel Capitol Police Board signals resistance to reform McCarthy says that he will not support bipartisan deal for Jan. 6 commission 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 TrumpIran claims U.S. to lift all oil sanctions but State Department says 'nothing is agreed' Ivanka Trump, Kushner distance themselves from Trump claims on election: CNN Overnight Defense: Joint Chiefs chairman clashes with GOP on critical race theory | House bill introduced to overhaul military justice system as sexual assault reform builds momentum 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.