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September 19, 2019

9/4/2019 10:25:00 AM
Rep. Shimkus decides not to seek re-election
Daily News

Republican Congressman John Shimkus (Illinois-15) announced Friday he would not seek reelection. A lifelong resident of Collinsville, Shimkus has served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1997.

"It has been the honor of my lifetime to be asked by the people of Illinois to represent them in our nation's capitol," read a press release issued by Shimkus. "Each day I have tried to do this as best as I possibly could, and my success lies squarely at the feet of my incredible staff in Illinois and Washington, DC."

Shimkus stressed that he has no regrets,

"I will leave the political field knowing that I have served honorably and, with the help of many, accomplished a lot for my constituents, our state, and our nation," Shimkus, 61, said. "Serving in Congress has been a blessing, but it has also been a sacrifice for my wife Karen, and our boys. 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."

In 1992, while still serving as Madison County treasurer, Shimkus won the Republican nomination to run for the U.S. House seat in what was then the 20th District. He was defeated by 10-year Democratic incumbent Dick Durbin.

Four years later, Durbin gave up the seat to make what would be a successful run for the United States Senate. Shimkus won a crowded six-way primary, and faced State Representative Jay C. Hoffman in a close general election, which Shimkus won by just over 1,200 votes.

He has only faced one credible Democratic opponent since his initial reelection, in 2002. That year, Illinois lost a district as a result of the 2000 census, and his district was merged with the 19th District of two-term Democratic representative David D. Phelps. The new district retained Phelps' district number, but geographically and demographically was much more Shimkus' district, as he retained 60 percent of his former territory. The campaign was very bitter, with both men accusing the other's staffers of stalking their families. Despite a Democratic wave that swept through most of the state, he was easily reelected.

Shimkus announced in September 2005, that he would run for reelection in 2008, despite making a pledge when first elected in 1996 not to stay in office for more than 12 years.

When seeking his 11th term in 2016, Shimkus faced Illinois State Senator Kyle McCarter in the Republican primary. McCarter ran to the political right of Shimkus and criticized his accommodation with the Obama administration as well as national Republican party leadership. Shimkus won the primary with 60.4 percent of the vote to McCarter's 39.6 percent.

FEC records show that the John S. Fund, the PAC for Shimkus, contributed to former Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay in 2005. The fund also made contributions to Peter Roskam, a Republican candidate for the House from Illinois's 6th district, from 2005 to 2008 and to David McSweeney, a Republican candidate for the House from Illinois's 8th district, in 2006. In 2006, the funds treasurer, lobbyist Mark Valente, resigned. Shimkus earlier said he was considering removing Valente, but he did not want to act too quickly because it might suggest there was something improper about their relationship.

"My family and I thank you for allowing us the honor to serve. Our dedication to our country, our state, our church, and our community will not waiver as we embark on the next chapter of life. God bless you, and God bless America."

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