ANCHORAGE, Alaska -

State officials are seeking applicants for controversial Alaska Superior Court Judge Sen Tan’s 3rd Judicial District seat, after his announcement of plans to retire.

According to a statement from the Alaska Judicial Council, people interested in replacing Tan can acquire applications from the council’s website or its Anchorage office at 510 L St., Suite 450. Applicants must have been Alaska residents for the last five years, have licenses to practice law in Alaska and have at least five years of law experience.

Tan, appointed in December 1996 by then-Gov. Tony Knowles, was unsuccessfully targeted just before his 2012 retention election by Alaska Family Action, which asked voters to dismiss him. The conservative group criticized two decisions by Tan, in which he struck down measures passed by the Legislature requiring that parents be notified when their children had abortions.

The last-minute campaign prompted the judicial council, a non-partisan body which had recommended retaining Tan, to run an ad campaign defending his record. Voters ultimately retained Tan by a margin of 53 percent of votes to 47 percent.

In the 2013 legislative session, state Rep. Wes Keller (R-Wasilla) submitted House Bill 200, which would remove AJC recommendations from judges' retention elections. The measure, prompted by what Keller called “permissive” law allowing the recommendations, was heard in the House Judiciary Committee and held pending this year’s session.

The council has to receive all applications for Tan’s seat by a 3 p.m. deadline on Feb. 7.