Rep. John Shimkus, R-Ill., said Monday he’ll follow through with his plans to retire, after last week saying he was reconsidering leaving Washington.
“I was asked by local Republicans, party leaders in Washington, DC, and a bipartisan group of rank and file House members to reconsider my retirement,” the Illinois Republican said in a statement, reports Politico. “I was honored by their outreach. In response to their lobbying, I promised to seriously consider the request, which I did last week in DC and this past weekend at home. After weighing the pros and cons, I have decided to reaffirm my plan to retire.”
Shimkus, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said last week he had thought again about his retirement plans after Oregon Rep. Greg Walden, who holds the top GOP spot on the committee, had announced his retirement, leaving the post on the powerful committee up for grabs.
Shimkus’ retirement decision once again throws open the race for the top Republican spot on the committee. Four other Republicans on the committee, Reps. Michael Burgess of Texas, Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, Bob Latta of Ohio and Brett Guthrie of Kentucky have all indicated they are interested in replacing Walden.
Shimkus last week acknowledged he might have a hard time getting on the ballot to seek reelection, as he had no petition or circulators and he’d closed his campaign office.
Already, 19 House Republicans have said they’re retiring during this cycle, making it even more difficult for their party to take back the House from the Democrats.
Shimkus last month backed away from supporting Trump’s 2020 campaign after the president’s decision to pull troops from northern Syria, but last week, he said he still strongly supports Trump’s domestic agenda even if he doesn’t back his policies.
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