Land O’ Lakes businessman Ardian Zika hit another fundraising milestone in the race to succeed House Speaker Richard Corcoran in Pasco County’s House District 37.
Zika, a Republican, tacked on another $6,150 during the middle two weeks of July, bringing his overall fundraising past the $200,000 mark since he entered the race in August 2017. He has more than $164,000 in the bank.
“I am humbled by the strong financial support our campaign has received from throughout the district and from the Tampa Bay area,” Zika said. “I am grateful for the many generous donors who have heard our message and have given of their hard-earned resources to help us get the message out to the voters in House District 37.
“I’m also extraordinarily grateful for the many volunteers, who have given of their time as we have walked door to door throughout House District 37,” he continued. “Only our campaign qualified for the ballot by petition, our campaign has large signs and yard signs in neighborhoods across the district, and most importantly, we have walked every single precinct, knocking on doors and meeting voters at their homes.”
Zika’s fundraising tally keeps him far ahead of his primary opponents, Elle Rudisill and Ryan Patrick Boney, neither of whom have made much headway on the fundraising trail.
Rudisill, also of Land O’ Lakes, has raised a little over $14,000 for her campaign after more than a year in the race. She had about $5,400 at the ready as of July 20. Boney, of Odessa, has only shown about $1,800 in activity since joining the fracas in January. He spent every dime in his campaign account covering the qualifying fee to make the ballot.
In addition to his strong fundraising, Zika has had plenty of success reeling in endorsements. His most recent nod came in from the Florida Chamber of Commerce, with prior backers including three police unions, St. Petersburg Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes, Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson and former House Speaker Will Weatherford, who represented Pasco County’s HD 38 during his time in the House.
The primary election is Aug. 28. Whomever emerges from the three-way battle will be the heavy favorite to succeed Corcoran, who cannot run for re-election due to term limits. Still, the Republican nominee must defeat Land O’ Lakes Democrat Tammy Garcia in the Nov. 6 general election. She had raised a little over $10,000 for her campaign and had $6,100 on hand through the reporting period ending July 6.
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. Corcoran never faced an Election Day challenger in his four campaigns in the House, three of which came after HD 37 was redrawn. The seat is a Republican stronghold that voted plus-27 for Donald Trump two years ago.