Jackson County Executive Mike Sanders has confirmed that he will not run for statewide office in 2016.
Sanders, a Democrat from Independence, was elected to a third four-term as county executive last fall. He had considered running for attorney general, among other offices.
Sanders said his reasoning was simple.
“I’ve got an 11-year-old and an 8-year-old, and I want to spend time with them,” he said.
Running for statewide office, he said, would mean a year of campaigning and fundraising just to get into office.
“The time commitment – it’s just total,” he said.
Although Missouri for years has gone solidly for Republicans in races for Congress and the General Assembly, Democrats hold five of the eight statewide seats. Several of them are on the ballot next year. Sanders ticked off four of those races:
• An open race for attorney general. The incumbent, Democrat Chris Koster, is running for governor. That’s the race Sanders had looked at most closely. Earlier, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker also said she won’t run for that office. Two Democrats are in the race, St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman and state Sen. Scott Sifton of St. Louis, as is one Republican, state Sen. Kurt Schaefer of Columbia.
• An open race for secretary of state. The incumbent, Democrat Jason Kander, is challenging U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt. State Sen. Will Kraus, R-Lee’s Summit, is running for secretary of state.
• An open race for state treasurer. Democrat Clint Zweifel can’t run again due to term limits.
• Lieutenant governor, where Republican Peter Kinder is in his third term.
Sanders also said he’s happy where he is now and mentioned current efforts such as renovating and expanding the Courthouse Annex in Independence and his hopes for a metrowide commuter rail system that would start in Jackson County.
“Jackson County is a great job,” he said.
Sanders, 47, acknowledged that he could have political opportunities in the future.
“I’m not saying no forever,” he said. “I’m just saying no for right now.”