U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis.

U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis (D-7th) is trying to dispel widespread rumors that he’s going to retire soon.

A recent article by Crain’s Chicago Business columnist Greg Hinz hinted at the possibility of Davis retiring before the end of the year. Hinz also speculated that Cook County Commissioner Richard Boykin (D-1st), Davis’s protégé and former chief of staff, might be using his exploration of a U.S. Senate run to distract from his actual intention — replacing his old boss.

“Obviously, establishing a campaign committee, raising money and hiring staff now would give Boykin a huge advantage if Davis pulled out late this fall and Boykin switched his aspirations from the Senate to the House,” Hinz wrote in an Aug. 8 column.

But at a press conference held Wednesday morning to highlight legislation to increase opportunities for non-violent ex-offenders, Davis responded directly to Hinz’s article.

“People are reporting that I might retire. Well, I might die in the morning, too,” Davis said light-heartedly. “I think that different politicians have been talking that talk and spreading the notion around that I might retire. They think that would create an opportunity for them to do whatever they want to do.”

Chicago Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the congressional seat should Davis retire. And Frederick Collins, a relatively unknown Chicago police officer who ran for mayor this year, has announced that he’ll run. However, it isn’t clear whether Collins intends to run against Davis in the Democratic primary or as a Republican in the general election. In 2012, Collins unsuccessfully ran as a Republican for Illinois’s 1st Congressional District.

While Davis told Hinz that he is, in fact, running for re-election; the 18-year congressional veteran seemed to hedge somewhat when talking about the retirement rumors after this morning’s press conference.

“But even if I was to retire, it wouldn’t help [the politicians who may be eyeing his seat] none, because I’d still be involved in politics and the people who follow my lead on political things would still do that,” Dais said. “But, no I’m not getting ready to retire.”

Davis referenced his intense schedule as proof, noting that he’s in the middle of a marathon of town hall meetings throughout his district.

“As a matter of fact, I just did a town hall event last night,” Davis said. “I did one the night before last in Berwyn. … I got some scheduled in [Chicago’s] 15th Ward, 16th Ward, 20th Ward, 24th Ward … That does not sound like retirement to me.”

On Boykin’s Senate exploration, Davis said he’s taking a wait-and-see stance. This month, Boykin announced that he would launch a 30-person advisory committee and listening tour throughout the state to gauge voter sentiment about a possible Democratic primary campaign for U.S. Senate — a seat currently held by his friend Sen. Mark Kirk, a Republican. Boykin has said he’ll make a formal decision on whether or not to run in September.

“I’m not involved in [Boykin’s] exploration,” Davis said. “He is my friend and colleague and we communicate. But I have told him I won’t make an endorsement until after he makes his decision. When he makes his decision, that’s when I’ll make mine.”

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