Sharon Runner, the Lancaster Republican who returned to the state Senate last year after undergoing a life-saving double lung transplant, will leave the Capitol again this fall when her term ends.
In a statement, Runner cited “medical challenges during the cold and flu season” that would be exacerbated by the stress of a campaign and four more years in office.
“This is a difficult decision that was made after a great deal of prayer, thought, and discussions with my family and doctors,” she said. “I will continue to work hard and advocate for my constituents for the remainder of my term, but have chosen not to seek re-election. My doctors have stressed the need to slow down, and I will heed their advice.”
Runner, 61, was elected to the Antelope Valley seat through a special election in 2015 after Rep. Steve Knight, R-Lancaster, left for Congress. She previously served six years in the Assembly and won a 2011 special election in a Senate district covering much of the same area, but chose not to seek re-election the following year as she awaited her operation for a rare autoimmune disorder. Runner’s husband, George, preceded her in the seat and is now a member of the state Board of Equalization.
Her decision opens up the race in an area that Democrats have increasingly eyed as changing demographics have given them a slight registration advantage. Because of Runner’s decision, candidates have until March 16 to file for the seat.