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Regan wins big in northern York County Senate race

Greg Gross
  • Mike Regan secured 21,121 votes
Mike Regan speaks during his watch party at Nick's 114 Cafe in New Cumberland, after winning the Pennsylvania Primary Election Tuesday, April 26, 2016. Dawn J. Sagert photo

State Rep. Mike Regan may soon have a new title in front of his name: that of senator.

The York County Republican beat out three other candidates on Tuesday to secure the party's nomination for the 31st state Senate seat.

"This is unbelievable," Regan, a two-term representative in the state House, told supporters at a party in New Cumberland. "This room is full of people who made this happen."

Regan led the three other candidates, securing 26,740 votes, followed closely by former NFL player Jon Ritchie, who received 15,737 votes, according to unofficial results from the  Pennsylvania Department of State.

Camp Hill-area dentist Brice Arndt came in third with 7,194 votes, and Scott Harper, an attorney from Washington Township, rounded out the field with 1,457 votes, according to the results.

During his victory speech, Regan also noted he still has to win the November election to officially secure the seat. But since no Democrats ran, the race was essentially decided in the primary.

Someone could still launch a write-in campaign, and third-party candidates have until Aug. 1 to file nomination papers.

Regan also thanked his campaign workers, as well as state Sen. Scott Wagner, R-Spring Garden Township, and Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre County, for their help.

Mike Regan speaks during a watch party at Nick's 114 Cafe in New Cumberland after winning the Pennsylvania primary election Tuesday, April 26, 2016. Dawn J. Sagert photo

The hotly contested race heated up even more in recent weeks with Regan and Ritchie taking shots at each other in mailers and ads.

Ritchie conceded the race about 10:30 p.m. and plans to continue in politics in some capacity.

“As we move forward over the next few days, I will have more updates on my future plans, but I plan to stay involved in the political process," he said in a statement, in which he also thanked supporters.

Voters: Lorrie Peiffer of Dillsburg became a fan of Regan back in 2012 when he successfully won his House seat. Regan worked the poll in Dillsburg, where Peiffer met him.

"I like his background. He's solid," she said, noting Regan is a former U.S. marshal. "I like cops. They have a tough job."

But she also said she likes where Regan stands on the issues that matter to her, such as welfare reform.

"There's people who need it. But there are people (gaming) the system," said Peiffer. "I just want someone who can make something happen."

Other voters said they based their decision on who to vote for in the Senate and in the 92nd House District race solely on name recognition. The race for president was what got them to the polls.

Fran and Mike Regan arrive at Regan's watch party celebration at Nick's 114 Cafe in New Cumberland, Tuesday, April 26, 2016. Dawn J. Sagert photo

Teresa Bradford's main mission was to vote for GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump when she went to one of two polling places at the Dover Township Community Building.

She also cast her ballot for Ritchie in the down-ballot race.

"I had heard a little more about him," Bradford said.

The district: The 31st Senate District includes an area that stretches from Fairview Township in the north to Jackson Township in the south as well as a large area of Cumberland County.

A larger portion of York County was included in the district when state House and Senate district line were redrawn a few years ago.

Jon Ritchie, left, jokes with voter Peter Hollander of Mechanicsburg outside the polls at Wesley United Methodist Church in Mechanicsburg Tuesday, April 26, 2016. Ritchie is a candidate in the race for the 31st Senate District. Bill Kalina photo

Rank and file members of the Senate are paid $85,339 yearly, according to the state website,

The seat became up for grabs after current seat holder Sen. Pat Vance announced she's retiring at year's end.

— Reach Greg Gross at