Republican Ardian Zika announce Monday that he’d picked up an endorsement for his House District 37 bid from a Pasco chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police.
“It gives me great pleasure to give you the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police, Pasco County Sheriff’s Lodge 29,” said R.W. “Skip” Stone, President of the FOP Pasco County Sheriff’s Lodge 29. “We represent the members of the Fraternal Order of Police in Pasco County and are entrusted to looking after their best interest while they serve the citizens of Pasco County.
“We are grateful for your support of public safety and are confident you will be a fair and impartial voice. We value your professionalism and commitment to both the citizens of Pasco County and those who put their lives on the line on a daily basis to make sure Pasco County is a safe place to live. Thank you for your commitment to public service, public safety, and our members.”
The police union’s nod was preceded by another major law enforcement endorsement. Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco and Pasco Tax Collector Mike Fasano announced last week that they were backing Zika in the four-way Republican Primary for HD 37, currently held by termed-out House Speaker Richard Corcoran.
Zika, a Land O’ Lakes businessman who immigrated to the U.S. from Kosovo in the 1990s, said he was honored to be Lodge 29’s pick for the Florida House.
“The Fraternal Order of Police represents the women and men who put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe and secure. I am thankful for their willingness to serve and protect us daily and appreciate the sacrifice their families make so they may serve our community,” Zika said. “Our law enforcement professionals and their families have earned our respect and appreciation and I am humbled to have their support this election.”
Past endorsements for Zika have come in from St. Petersburg Republican Sen. Jeff Brandes, Senate Majority Leader Wilton Simpson and former House Speaker Will Weatherford. Zika’s campaign also recently announced last week that it had gathered enough signatures to make the HD 37 ballot by petition.
He faces Ryan Boney, Bill Gunter and Elle Rudisill in the Republican Primary. Democrats Tammy Garcia and Denise Mestanza-Taylor are also running, though HD 37 is a safe GOP seat.
Through April, Zika held a commanding lead in the money race. He has so far raised more than $183,000 and has $170,000 on hand, followed by Rudisill with $13,500 banked and Boney and Gunter each with $0 in their campaign accounts.
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.