Hank Sanders, Alabama’s longest-serving state senator, won’t seek 10th term

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After qualifying to run for re-election, Alabama’s longest-serving state senator, Selma-Democrat Hank Sanders has decided not to seek a 10th term in office.

Sanders made announcement in a statement Saturday afternoon.

“Some time it is time. Some time we do not realize it is time until something special happens. I had thought that I would run to serve one more term in the Alabama State Senate, and I qualified to run in January,” Sanders said. “However, when I took off 24 hours for our 48th wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago, I began to realize what a heavy load I carry. I realized that when you cannot get 24 hours away except for your wedding anniversary, then it is time to reevaluate.”

Sanders said he came to the conclusion that he did not want to run on Friday, Feb. 9, the last day to qualify to run.

“I came to the conclusion that I did not want to have to wait for another anniversary over a long period of years to get away for 24 hours,” Sanders explained.

Sanders, 75, has served as senator for District 23 since 1982.

Sanders’ daughter Malika Sanders-Fortier has decided she will run for the seat left empty by her father.

“I asked my daughter Malika Sanders-Fortier if she would consider qualifying and running for the Senate District 23 seat. We discussed it, and she said yes. I felt great because Malika has my spirit,” Sanders continued. “She is a lawyer, a mother, and is dedicated to lifting the community. I am convinced that she can carry on as well as I could, and I will not have to struggle to take 24 hours for another anniversary or other special occasion.”

According to a list of candidates that have qualified to run for Senate District 23, Sanders-Fortier has also qualified. No other candidates, from either major parties, have qualified to run.

Sanders said he will fulfill the remainder of his current term withdraw his candidacy in the coming days.

“I will withdraw my candidacy for the Democratic Primary in the coming days, and I will serve out the remainder of this term, which is approximately nine months,” Sanders added.

Read Sanders full statement below:

Some time it is time. Some time we do not realize it is time until something special happens. I had thought that I would run to serve one more term in the Alabama State Senate, and I qualified to run in January. However, when I took off 24 hours for our 48th wedding anniversary a couple of weeks ago, I began to realize what a heavy load I carry. I realized that when you cannot get 24 hours away except for your wedding anniversary, then it is time to reevaluate. I thought and prayed on it.

On February the 9th, I came to the conclusion that I did not want to have to wait for another anniversary over a long period of years to get away for 24 hours. I asked my daughter Malika Sanders-Fortier if she would consider qualifying and running for the Senate District 23 seat. We discussed it, and she said yes. I felt great because Malika has my spirit. She is a lawyer, a mother, and is dedicated to lifting the community. I am convinced that she can carry on as well as I could, and I will not have to struggle to take 24 hours for another anniversary or other special occasion.

I have run for elective office at least a dozen times, and I have served in the Alabama State Senate in District 23 for nearly 35 years. I will withdraw my candidacy for the Democratic Primary in the coming days, and I will serve out the remainder of this term, which is approximately nine months. I want to express my heartfelt thank you to the people for electing me to serve on so many occasions. It has been my honor to serve in the Alabama Senate, and I will continue to serve, even when I am not in elected office.

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