He’d rather be in Albany than on Capitol Hill.
State Senator James Sanders announced on Tuesday he would run for re-election instead of challenging Congressman Gregory Meeks for his Fifth Congressional District seat.
Sanders, who represents the 10th Senatorial District covering much of southeast Queens, had formally explored a Congressional campaign, noting that he “wanted to rid the complacency, mediocrity and ethical lapses from yet another elected seat that has been preventing real improvements from being enacted in our neighborhoods.”
What changed Sanders mind, he told residents on Tuesday, was his confidence that Democrats would take control of the state Senate away from the Republican majority in the November general election.
Democrats already control the Assembly and the governor’s mansion, and a Democrat-controlled state Senate would give the party a mandate to fulfill its legislative agenda.
“My desire has always been to serve the largest amount of people possible, and at this moment, staying in the Senate accomplishes that,” Sanders said. “Now that we can turn our statehouse into a functioning weapon of progressive change for our neighborhoods and for our people, I will make sure to utilize it to create a better reality for all of you — the ones that I grew up with, the ones that I have never abandoned, and never will.”
But the incumbent state Senator is facing a challenge from another Democrat, Community Board 12 Chairperson Adrienne Adams, who announced her campaign last month. In a statement to QNS on Thursday, Adams said Sanders’ “career aspirations were not factored in my choice to run.”
“My campaign isn’t about running against Senator Sanders,” she said. “I am in the race for NYS Senate in the greater interest of the well-being of the residents of southeast Queens.”
Sanders, a former City Council member, successfully challenged state Senator Shirley Huntley in September 2012 and won the seat unopposed the following November. He handily defeated two primary challengers in September 2014 en route to being re-elected.