A Land O'Lakes businessman with strong connections in the local Republican Party has announced his plan to run for House Speaker Richard Corcoran's District 37 seat in 2018, when Corcoran faces term limits.
Ardian Zika, 37, joins what could be a crowded field that already includes pastor Bill Gunter, who unsuccessfully sought the District 36 seat in 2013; retired law enforcement officer George Agovino and assistant Elle Rudisill. Pasco County Commissioner Kathryn Starkey, who lost to Corcoran in 2010, also is considered a likely candidate.
Zika, appointed to the Pasco-Hernando State College Board of Trustees by Gov. Rick Scott, served as campaign finance chairman for Pasco schools superintendent Kurt Browning in 2012. Born in the former Yugoslavia, Zika moved to the United States in 1997.
He said in a news release he is a product of American exceptionalism, and is pursuing the American dream.
"I'll champion bold and visionary ideas to unleash the American entrepreneurial spirit of innovation and transform our community," said Zika, the CEO of his own business advisory practice. "As your state representative, I'll fight for lower taxes, less regulation and more personal responsibility, and to protect our constitutional rights."
Zika and his wife, Tasha, have five children. He reports having a bachelors degree from Louisiana Tech University and a master's degree from St. Leo University.