While the race for Florida House District 37 is contested, it’s likely incumbent Ardian Zika will keep his seat.
The Land O’ Lakes Republican faces Democrat Tammy Garcia in the General Election.
The two faced off once before in 2018, when Zika was first elected. He won the seat handily, scoring 61% of the vote against Garcia.
Although Zika is a legislative freshman facing reelection amid a global pandemic, he has found ways to connect with Pasco County voters.
“I had my boots on and I went directly to the voters,” Zika said. “And I’m going to do the same thing this time — voters want to hear directly from their candidate.”
The seat was formerly held by current Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran. Corcoran had to step down because of term limits.
The HD 37 seat serves a part of Pasco County that is considered largely a northern suburban portion of the Tampa area. Of the 141,697 voters registered in HD 37, only 39,567 are Democrats while 61,445 are Republicans. The district also has 38,590 non-affiliated voters and 2,095 third party voters.
The district has voted overwhelmingly for Republicans in statewide elections. President Donald Trump carried HD 37 61% to 34% in 2016 over Hillary Clinton, and Corcoran, also a Republican, held the district without opposition from 2012 through 2018.
Despite deep Republican roots in the county, Zika is a keen bipartisan leader in the House. Of the 14 bills Zika presented as the primary sponsor in the 2020 Legislative Session, four were in collaboration with Democrats; Zika was the sole sponsor of the remaining. His interests also cross party lines, with one of his three major platforms being the environment.
“I believe in working in a bipartisan fashion with my colleagues across the aisle, it’s important that we work as a team,” Zika said.
Besides his incumbency status, Zika also has a major advantage in fundraising.
The incumbent has raised $123,451 since that start of his campaign. So far, he has only spent $32,526, leaving him with about $87,900 heading into the General Election.
Garcia has raised only $5,150 since her campaign started in May, and has spent $1,974, leaving her with just over $3,000 to start campaigning for the November election.
Zika had only two contributions in the most recent fundraising period, which spanned Aug. 1 to Aug. 13. The contributions, both $1,000 each, came from Gunster Law Firm in West Palm Beach and the Entertainment Software Association. Garcia raised $1,670 last period, comprised of about 20 individual donations.