NEW PORT RICHEY — The push to replace Mike Fasano in the state House is getting crowded.
Two more candidates, a Republican and one with no party affiliation, filed this week to join the two Republicans already running. The two newcomers are seeking office for the first time.
Jeromy K. Harding, 23, an insurance agent, said he's running after hearing customers complain about being turned away by Citizens Insurance because of sinkhole worries. The Republican says he wants to boost school funding, including for classroom supplies, and favors eliminating red-light cameras.
Harding, a member of the New Port Richey Rotary Club, works at the family-run Barrett Harding Insurance Inc. He lives 1,000 feet outside House District 36, but says he's under contract to buy a house inside the district.
Richard T. Sikes, 36, is an Iraq war veteran who helps disabled people, including veterans, find jobs and access to education. He said he's running to represent the district's constituents.
"I don't have any goals or agenda. I just want to reach out to people of the community and find out what their issues are and bring them to Tallahassee," he said.
Sikes has no party affiliation, which means he won't be on the ballot for the Sept. 17 primary, only the general election Oct. 15.
Two other Republicans are running: Bill Gunter, a Presbyterian minister, and lawyer Jim Mathieu.
Lynn Lindeman, chair of the Pasco Democrats, said a Democrat will jump into the race early next week.
Rich Shopes can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 869-6236.