Republican Ardian Zika posted a solid fundraising report for October with $23,000 raised and an on-hand total of $124,000 in the race to replace House Speaker Richard Corcoran in House District 37.
Zika took in 44 contributions last month, including 15 for the maximum donation of $1,000. His spending clocked in at just $1,250 – $1,000 of which went to the Republican Party of Pasco – leaving him with $124,434 at the end of the month.
Making the donor roll in October were Brandon-based lobby shop RSA Consulting, Kimmins Contracting President Joseph Williams and his wife, Laura Williams, as well as Land O Lakes entrepreneur Tia Young.
The October numbers showed a significant jump over Zika’s prior month effort, which saw him raise $2,600. His report for August, his first month in the race, came in at just over $100,000.
The Pasco County businessman is the current frontrunner among the three Republicans running to replace Corcoran, who faces term limits and will leave the seat after the 2018 elections whether he decides to run for governor or not.
The other candidates to file are Elle Rudisill, who raised $615 last month, and Bill Gunter, who had not yet filed his report as of Thursday afternoon.
In addition to besting Rudisill and Gunter on the campaign trail Zika has also pulled in some high-profile endorsements, including October nods from former House Speaker Will Weatherford and Pasco Schools Superintendent Kurt Browning.
Rudisill, an assistant state attorney for the 6th Judicial Circuit in Pinellas/Pasco county since the fall of 2014, has raised a total of $11,312 since filing in June and has nearly all of that money on hand.
Gunter, a pastor of the Redeemer Community Church in New Port Richey, had raised a total of $7,885 through the end of September, and had $4,421 of that money in the bank Oct. 1. Gunter was the GOP nominee in the 2013 special election to replace Mike Fasano in House District 36 but ultimately lost to Democrat Amanda Murphy in the general election.
HD 37 covers the majority of inland Pasco County, including the communities of Land O’ Lakes, Odessa, Heritage Pines, Shady Hills, Meadow Oaks and Moon Lake.
According to 2016 voter statistics, the electorate is about 43 percent Republican, 29 percent Democrat and 24 percent belonging to no party. After winning the Republican Primary for the newly redrawn seat in 2012, Corcoran cruised into office without any Election Day opposition. He didn’t have any primary or general election challengers in his 2014 or 2016 re-election campaigns.