U.S. Rep. John Shimkus of Illinois said Friday he won’t run for re-election after more than 20 years in Congress, the 14th House Republican to decline a 2020 race.
Shimkus represents the 15th District, which includes all or part of 33 counties stretching from central Illinois to near the southern tip. Shimkus first ran for the office against then-Representative Dick Durbin in 1992. Durbin defeated him by over 35,000 votes. He won by just 1,200 votes in the 20th District in 1996 against State Representative Jay Hoffman after Durbin vacated the seat to run for U.S. Senatate. Shimkus has since coasted against Democratic challengers by winning nearly 70% of the vote since 2004.
Shimkus, 61, of Collinsville has won in three different districts after boundaries were changed following the decennial census. The former 20th district encompassed portions of Greene and Macoupin counties for a number of years before being eliminated in 2000. The 19th district also had most of Greene before being moved to the much larger southern 15th district in 2012.
Shimkus didn’t give a reason for retiring. Earlier, speaking on St. Louis’ KMOX, he said he traveled the district to get comfortable about the decision. He said he looked forward to spending more time at home with his wife and children. Shimkus is the third-ranking Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. A potential predecessor is Republican State Senator Jason Plummer, who has said he has wanted to run for the seat in year’s passed. Plummer is based out of Staunton.
According to the Washington Post, Shimkus is the fourteenth Republican incumbent in the House of Representatives that has announced plans to retire, resign, or seek another office.