Allan Ritter

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Allan Brown Ritter
Texas State Representative for District 21 (Jefferson and Orange counties)
In office
1999 – January 13, 2015
Preceded by Mark Stiles
Succeeded by Dade Phelan
Personal details
Born (1954-05-06) May 6, 1954 (age 62)
Beaumont, Texas, U.S.
Nationality American
Political party Democrat-turned-Republican (December 2010)
Spouse(s) Peggy Ritter
Children Will, Peyton, Anney, and Whitney Ritter
Residence Nederland, Jefferson County, Texas
Alma mater

Forest Park High School in

Occupation Timber company owner
Religion Southern Baptist

Allan Brown Ritter (born May 6, 1954), is a businessman from Nederland, Texas, who is a former member of the Texas House of Representatives for District 21, which includes parts of Jefferson and Orange counties. First elected as a Democrat in 1998, Ritter switched parties in 2010 and won his eighth and final term in 2012 as a Republican.[1]


Ritter was born and reared in Beaumont, the county seat of Jefferson County. There he graduated in 1972 from Forest Park High School. He was a salesman for his family-owned Ritter Timber Company in Nederland from 1972 to 1988, when he became the company president. He is also a board member of Allied Building Stores. He is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Crime Stoppers, and the National Rifle Association.[2]

Ritter is a member of the First Baptist Church of Nederland.[1] He and his wife, Peggy, have four children, Will, Peyton, Anney, and Whitney.[2]

Political life[edit]

In the 1998 Democratic primary for House District 21 to choose a nominee to succeed the retiring Mark W. Stiles (born 1948), Ritter ran without opposition.[3] Then in the general election, he defeated the Republican candidate, Kent Adams, 18,252 (53.1 percent) to 16,096 (46.9 percent).[4] In November 2000, Ritter was reelected to his second term, having defeated Republican Mary Jane Avery, 27,033 (56.3 percent) to 20,484 (42.6 percent). A Libertarian candidate held the remaining 1.1 percent of the ballots cast.[5]

In 2010, Ritter won his last general election as a Democrat without opposition. In switching parties after the 2010 legislative elections, Ritter and fellow Representative Aaron Peña of Hidalgo County gave the Republican Party a temporary 101-49 supermajority in the Texas House.[6] A year later, a third Democrat, J. M. Lozano of Kingsville, also bolted to the Republican Party. In his case, Lozano attributed his switch to the influence of George P. Bush, who founded the political action committee, Hispanic Republicans of Texas.[7]

As a new Republican in 2012, he defeated his intraparty opponent, Daniel Stephen Miller (born c. 1951), also of Nederland, 9,299 (72.7 percent) to 3,488 (27.3 percent).[8] He then ran in November 2012 without Democratic opposition.

Ritter is the outgoing chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee and a member of the Ways and Means Committee.[2] In the 2013 legislative session, Ritter voted to establish a breakfast program and to provide marshals for security in public schools. He did not vote on the matter of authorizing immunization of minors without parental consent, which the House approved, 71-61. He voted to extend the franchise tax exemption to certain businesses. Ritter voted to prohibit texting while driving and to require testing for narcotics of those receiving unemployment compensation. He voted for an "equal pay for women" measure, which passed the House, 78-61. He voted to forbid the state from enforcing federal regulations of firearms. Ritter also supported allowing college and university officials to carry concealed weapons on campus in the name of security.[9]

Though Ritter voted in 2013 to ban abortion after twenty weeks of gestation, Texas Right to Life gave him a "D" grade in 2001 and only 67 percent in 2013. That same year, the interest group Texans for Fiscal Responsibility rated Ritter 37 percent; he received a zero rating from the group in 2011.[10]

Retirement announced[edit]

In October 2013, Ritter announced that he would not seek a ninth term in the legislature.[11] Two Republican candidates ran to succeed Ritter, conservative activist Judy Nichols (born c. 1961), backed by the Tea Party movement, and real estate developer Dade Phelan of Beaumont.[12] Phelan defeated Nichols, 7,940 votes (59.9 percent) to 5,314 votes (40.1 percent).[13] Phelan subsequently defeated the Democrat educator Garvin Bruney 74.38 to 25.61 percent in the November 4 general election.


  1. ^ a b "State Rep. Allan Ritter, District 21 (R-Nederland)". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c "Allan Ritter's Biography". Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  3. ^ "1998 Democratic primary election returns (House District 21)". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  4. ^ "1998 General election returns (House District 21". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  5. ^ "2000 General election returns (House District 21". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Longtime Democrat Aaron Pena Makes It 101". KWTX-TV. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Julian Aguilar, "Rep. J.M. Lozano Confirms Plans to Switch to GOP, March 5, 2012". The Texas Tribune. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  8. ^ "2012 Republican primary election returns (House District 21". Archived from the original on January 9, 2014. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Allan Ritter's Voting Records". Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Allan Ritter's Ratings and Endorsement". Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Jason Parthum, Judy Nichols seeks to replace Allan Ritter in Texas' House District 21". YouTube. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Judy Nichols". Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Republican primary election returns". Retrieved March 6, 2014. 
Preceded by
Mark W. Stiles
Texas State Representative for District 21 (Jefferson and Orange counties)

Allan Brown Ritter

Succeeded by
Dade Phelan