Dean of Alabama Senate to retire after 8 terms

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Alabama's longest continually serving state senator, Democrat Bobby Denton of Muscle Shoals, has decided not to seek re-election next year.

The eight-term senator announced his decision to retire Saturday in Cherokee, where he grew up. The 70-year-old senator says a series of operations he had last year played a role in his decision. He says he also wants to spend more time with his family, including his first great-grandchild.

The Senate gave Denton the title of "dean of the Senate" in 2003 because of his long service. He also has other unofficial titles. He's called the "singing senator" because he sang some of the earliest hit records made in Muscle Shoals.

He's also known as the "Maalox of the Senate" because he tries to soothe the Senate when tempers get short.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)