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 W. Stiles
Succeeded by Dade Phelan

Born May 6, 1954
Beaumont, Jefferson County, Texas
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 (Beaumont)
Occupation Timber company owner
Religion Southern Baptist

Allan Brown Ritter (born May 6, 1954), is a businessman from Nederland, Texas, who is a former state representative 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 in coastal Jefferson County, Texas. There he graduated in 1972 from Forest Park High School. He was a salesman for his family-owned Ritter Timber Company in Nederland fm 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

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, the state land commissioner who founded the political action committee, Hispanic Republicans of Texas.[7]

As a new Republican in 2012, he defeated his intra-party 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 served as chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee and was 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]

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. 1.0 1.1 State Rep. Allan Ritter, District 21 (R-Nederland). The Texas Tribune. Retrieved on February 20, 2014; material no longer accessible on-line.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Allan Ritter's Biography. Retrieved on September 18, 2020.
  3. Texas Secretary of State, Democratic Primary Election Returns, 1998.
  4. Texas Secretary of State, General Election Returns, November 1998.
  5. Texas Secretary of State, General Election Returns, November 2000.
  6. Longtime Democrat Aaron Peña Makes It 101. KWTX-TV. Retrieved on February 20, 2014.
  7. Julian Aguilar (March 5, 2012). Rep. J.M. Lozano Confirms Plans to Switch to GOP. The Texas Tribune. Retrieved on February 20, 2014.
  8. Texas Secretary of State, Republican Primary Election Returns, May 29, 2012.
  9. Allan Ritter's Voting Records. Retrieved on September 18, 2020.
  10. Allan Ritter's Ratings and Endorsement. Project Vote Smart. Retrieved on September 18, 2020.
  11. Jason Parthum. Judy Nichols seeks to replace Allan Ritter in Texas' House District 21. YouTube. Retrieved on September 16, 2020.
  12. Judy Nichols. Retrieved on September 18, 2020.
  13. Texas Secretary of State, Republican Primary Election Returns, May 29, 2012.