Ex-NFLer Ritchie to seek Vance's state senate seat

Greg Gross
Jon Ritchie

About a decade after leaving the gridiron, ex-NFLer Jon Ritchie is looking to make the leap to state government.

The former Philadelphia Eagle is the third person to announce he's running for retiring state Sen. Pat Vance's seat in the 31st Senate District.

"I feel like it's my turn to give back to the community," he said in an interview on Tuesday. "I know this is my purpose."

The 41-year-old Republican was a standout football player at Cumberland Valley High School in Cumberland County and spent two years playing at Michigan University and another two at Stanford University, from which he graduated in 1998. The fullback made the leap to the NFL, playing for the Oakland Raiders and the Eagles between 1998 and 2004.

He is currently an on-air football analyst for NBC and DirecTV.

Why running: Ritchie said it was an epiphany that prompted him to run after speaking with Vance about her impending retirement.

"When I talked to Senator Vance, everything became clear," he said.

Ritchie first met Vance after his Cumberland Valley team won the state championship in 1992 and Vance, then in the state House of Representatives, invited the team to the Capitol.

"I always admired Pat Vance," he said. "She never let anybody tell her what to think."

Though he declined to talk about what his plans are if he is elected, Ritchie said he'll draw inspiration from his time in football.

There were always other players out there itching to get his spot on the team, pushing him to work hard, he said. The same can be said for politics, where a person's career can come to an end at election time.

Also running: Two other men, both Republicans, have also announced their intent to run for Vance's seat.

State Rep. Mike Regan, R-Dillsburg, said in July that he'll launch a campaign for the seat, and Camp Hill-area dentist Brice Arndt recently said he'll also seek the post.

Regan previously said he won't run for re-election to retain his House seat.

In York County, Vance's district includes an area that stretches from Fairview Township in the north to Jackson Township in the south. Her district also includes portions of Cumberland County.

Ritchie lives in the Enola area with his wife Marielle and their three children, Joe, Marlowe and Mila.

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