Republican Ardian Zika won Tuesday night’s race for state representative of Florida House District 37 over Democrat Tammy Garcia, taking 63 percent of the vote, according to unofficial results.
“I am humbled by the support received from the community,” Zika said.
The district covers central Pasco County and has a two-year term. The salary is $29,697.
Zika, 40, has held the seat since 2018, when he beat Garcia with 61 percent of the vote. He runs a business management consulting company and has served as a governor’s appointee on the board of trustees for Pasco-Hernando State College, CareerSource Florida and the Florida Council on Homelessness. In the 2020 election, he campaigned on pro-business issues and increased investment in public safety. An immigrant from Kosovo, he promised to help constituents achieve the “American Dream.” By late October, Zika’s campaign had raised $148,964, with another $9,500 in his political committee. Many contributions came from major companies like Publix, Walmart and J.P. Morgan Chase.
Returning to the Florida House, Zika said his biggest priority will be to rebuild the economy battered by the pandemic.
But for now, he would celebrate his victory by getting plenty of rest, he said. “As you can imagine, as a father with five young children, running a campaign was a busy schedule,” he said.
His opponent, Garcia, 37, is a Tampa native studying to become a paralegal. She campaigned on public education, unemployment and inequality issues and called for legalizing marijuana as way to boost tax dollars. She also blasted corporate involvement in campaign finance. “Voters need a choice in representation and I want to make sure that the people of central Pasco have a choice,” she said. By late October, Garcia’s campaign had raised $9,534.
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