Two months after announcing that he would not seek another term in Congress, U.S. Rep. John Shimkus said Thursday that he will be taking the weekend to reconsider it.
In a statement, Shimkus, R-Collinsville, said he has been asked by House members in Washington, constituents in the 15th Congressional District and supporters throughout Illinois to delay his retirement plans because of the opportunity to become a committee leader with the retirement of Energy and Commerce Committee Ranking Member Greg Walden.
“I am currently weighing the pros and cons of the situation,” Shimkus said through a statement. “I know that time is of the essence, so I expect to discuss the matter with my family when I return to the district for the weekend and announce my decision immediately thereafter.”
Shimkus, 61, had announced that this term, his 12th, would be his last during a radio talk show appearance and in an Aug. 30 statement.
“Serving in Congress has been a blessing, but it has also been a sacrifice for my wife Karen and our boys,” Shimkus stated at the time. “Now young men, David, Joshua and Daniel continue to make me proud. I regret the times I have been away from the four of them and thank them for their constant love and support.”
But Shimkus spokesman Doug Bugger said it has been the congressman’s goal to serve in the leadership role on the House Energy and Commerce Committee “for years.” He ran for the position the last time it was open in 2016, according to Bugger.
When asked what Shimkus would like to accomplish in the role, Bugger said he could not speak to specifics. Shimkus was not immediately available for further comment Thursday because he was traveling to Collinsville from Washington, D.C.
Other candidates have begun announcing their campaigns to replace Shimkus in the 15th Congressional District, including John W. Hursey Jr., a Democrat from Collinsville; Alex Walker, a Republican from Mattoon; Kevin Gaither, a Democrat from Charleston; Lori L. Fuller, a Republican from Highland; John Bambenek, a Republican from Champaign; Mary Miller, a Republican from Oakland; and Kerry Wolff, a Republican from Altamont.
Lexi Cortes is a reporter with the Belleville News-Democrat, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio.
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