Former NFL pro Jon Ritchie enters race for state Senate

Jon Ritchie made it official on ABC 27 News at Noon while standing on the Cumberland Valley High School football field.

“I am a candidate for the state Senate,” Ritchie said while flanked by his wife Marielle and one of his three children.

Ritchie is the third Republican candidate to officially throw his hat in the ring to replace Senator Pat Vance (R-Cumberland/York), who officially announced her retirement last month.

Ritchie was a star running back at CV, leading the Eagles to a state title in 1992. He went to Michigan, Stanford and the NFL (Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles). For the past decade, he’s been a sports broadcaster working for ESPN, NBC and a contributor for ABC27. Ritchie, 41, said he’s been mostly unfulfilled professionally.

“I wondered is there more out there to do. I have a calling higher than this. Once I found out Senator Vance was not running for re-election, it all came together and made sense. This is my purpose,” he said emphasizing the word purpose.

Ritchie’s background in competitive sports will come in handy because it will be no easy victory. The GOP field in the 31st senatorial district is full of quality candidates.

Brice Arndt thinks voters should choose him. He says he’s knocked on nearly 7,000 doors.

“I’m an individual that has the passion, the commitment, the fire in the belly to go ahead and get the job done,” Arndt said.

He is a 30-year dentist who has a huge bus emblazoned with his name. He also has a boatload of former patients he hopes will support him and small business experience that he says qualify him for Harrisburg even without a political background.

“I’ve had to make a lot of tough decisions. I’ve had to develop relationships. I’ve had to earn people’s trust and I’ve had to solve problems. That sounds to me like that’s a politician – a successful one, anyway,” Arndt said.

Arndt will clearly run as a Capitol outsider.

State Representative Mike Regan (R-Dillsburg) will stake his claim and a qualified insider. He doesn’t shy away from the growing field of candidates.

“This is America. Anybody that wants to run, wants to serve, has the right,” Regan said. “I say, ‘the more, the merrier.’ I’m looking forward to the competition.”

Regan spent more than two decades in law enforcement as a U.S. marshal. He’s in his second term in the state House and says without a doubt when it comes to public service he’s the most qualified candidate.

“It’s one thing to demonstrate you desire to serve over years of service,” Regan said. “It’s another thing to say, ‘Hey, wouldn’t be neat to be a senator. I think I’ll run.’ With no indication that you have that kind of dedication, that kind of heart, that kind of spirit.”

It almost sounds like the start of a bar joke – a football player, a dentist and a U.S. marshal – but it will make for a serious and seriously competitive primary race.

The primary is April 26.

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