The Buzz

Mike Sanders won’t run for statewide office in 2016

Mike Sanders, the three-term Jackson County executive, said today he will not seek statewide office next year.

Sanders, 48, was seen as one of the Democratic Party’s best prospects to run for one of four statewide offices that Democrats are vacating.

“I have no interest in seeking statewide office in 2016,” Sanders told The Buzz. “I’m clearly not saying `no’ forever. It’s `no’ for right now. It’s a very personal decision and driven by family considerations.”

Sanders and his wife have two boys, 11 and 8.

“They’re not going to be 11 and 8 forever,” he said. “These days go fast. For now, I’m aware of the fact that they still want Dad around. Dad’s still cool. The most fun I have professionally and privately is hanging out with my kids.”

If he ran statewide, Sanders said he knows he’d have to give up that time to campaign.

“The commitment for statewide office is total.”

Democratic leaders have recruited Sanders heavily to run for one of the four statewide offices that Democrats are vacating either due to term limits or other political plans. The four are governor, attorney general, secretary of state and treasurer. Democrats now hold four of the six statewide offices.

Sanders also has been widely mentioned as a potential candidate to one day succeed 5th District Congressman Emanuel Cleaver of Kansas City. Cleaver has not announced any plans to step away from his seat, which he’s held since 2005.