Former College of Charleston President Alex Sanders has announced he's running for the U.S. Senate seat held by retiring Republican Strom Thurmond.

The Democrat, whose last day as president of the college was Friday, announced his Senate bid on Wednesday.

"The question is whether we can bring practical solutions to the problems that face the state and the Union," he said.

A number of prominent Democrats had considered entering the race and decided against it. The only declared Republican candidate is Rep. Lindsey Graham.

Sanders, 61, was a state representative and senator in the 1970s and '80s. He later served as first chief judge of the state Court of Appeals.