Former state Sen. Sanborn forms exploratory panel

Melissa Nann Burke
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Former state Sen. Alan Sanborn, R-Richmond Township, has formed a committee to explore a potential run for the seat of retiring U.S. Rep. Candice Miller.

Sanborn, 57, said he expects to make a decision within two to three weeks after touring the 10th Congressional District — a Republican stronghold that includes northern Macomb County and St. Clair, Huron, Tuscola, Sanilac and Lapeer counties.

“So far, the feedback has been outstanding,” said Sanborn, who served two terms in the Senate and two in the state House of Representatives. “Lots of my family and friends were really encouraging me to look at this.”

Miller, R-Harrison Township, said this month she would retire in 2016 after more than 35 years in public office. She has said she may endorse in the primary.

State Sen. Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township, declared his candidacy for the seat in mid-March. Other possible GOP contenders include state Sen. Jack Brandenburg of Harrison Township, former state Rep. Pete Lund of Shelby Township, Rep. Andrea LaFontaine of Columbus Township, freshman Rep. Todd Courser of Lapeer, and former state Rep. Leon Drolet of Macomb Township.

In the Legislature, Sanborn was “year after year the state’s most conservative senator,” he said. When voting on issues, he puts “conscience first, constituency second and then our caucus,” he said.

In talking to residents of the district, he’s hearing concerns ranging from the economy to terrorism to the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Sanborn would vote to repeal the latter, Sanborn said.

“You never have to ask me about how I would vote. The people will always know they will get a conservative vote,” he said.

Former Shelby Township Supervisor Ralph “Skip” Maccarone said in a statement that Sanborn was “very much in touch” with his constituents while in office, and his voting record reflected it.

Sanborn left the Senate four years ago, blocked from re-election due to term limits. He returned to his job as a probation officer for the Macomb County Circuit Court.

Sanborn noted his father, Macomb County Circuit Court Judge Kenneth N. Sanborn, also served in the state Legislature. He has many relatives “up in the Thumb.”

“The name is recognizable. I think it’s a name that people have trusted to send to elected office for a long, long time — whether it was my father or me or distant cousins,” Sanborn said.

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