Sanders makes last minute decision not to run for 10th term

Published 9:52 pm Monday, February 12, 2018

After qualifying for reelection in January, Sen. Hank Sanders has decided not to seek a 10th term in office. Sanders made the announcement Saturday afternoon in a statement just one day after the qualifying period ended.

“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 in the statement.

Sanders said celebrating his 48th wedding anniversary with his wife Faya Rose Toure was the special moment that eventually led to his decision not to run.

“After our anniversary, I didn’t start thinking about not running. I just started thinking about how I was struggling and what a heavy load I had,” Sanders said.

“I didn’t think about not running until that final day of qualifying. I was just struggling with the heavy load that I carry. It was only on that last day that I struggled with whether or not to run or not.”

Sanders, 75, has served as senator for District 23 for 35 years. He was first elected to the seat in 1982.

“On that last day, I tried to come to terms with it that afternoon, and that afternoon I said no and spoke to my daughter and asked her if she would be willing to run,” Sanders said.

Sanders’ daughter, Malika Sanders-Fortier, has qualified to run for the Senate District 23 seat. No other candidates, Republican nor Democrat, qualified besides Hank.

“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,” Sanders said.

Sanders said the timing of his decision was not intentional or designed to be misleading.

“I fully intended to run, and I was letting people know that this was going to be my last time to run,” he said. “Every time I have run, people have run against me. I expected people to run this time, so anybody who wanted to qualify could. I didn’t discourage anybody from running because nobody spoke to me one way or another about it. Anybody could have qualified, and anybody could have run.”

Sanders said he will serve out the remainder of this term, which ends in November, and he plans to withdraw his name from the race in the coming days.

After thinking about the decision over the last few days, Sanders said he does not regret it.

“I feel like it’s the right thing to do. I don’t have any regrets. I don’t have any second thoughts. Of course, I’m still qualified, and I’ll have to withdraw, but I’m not having any second thoughts,” he said.

Even though he is qualified to run, Sanders said he will not change his mind to withdraw his name.

“I’m going to continue to practice law, I’m going to continue to be involved in many community activities,” Sanders said.

“I’m going to continue to be involved in politics. I’m going to still be working hard and long but not 14 and 16 hour days.”

Sanders said he plans to spend the remainder of his term continuing to fight for legislation he believes in.

“I want to express my heartfelt thank you to the people for electing me to serve on so many occasions,” he said. “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.”

The senator has also dealt with a number of health issues over the last couple of years. Sanders spent a few days in the hospital in December after showing signs of a heart condition.

After being released from the hospital, Sanders said his health would not affect his ability to serve in the Senate.