Republicans Boot Chairman Amidst Ongoing Scandal

Republicans Boot Chairman Amidst Ongoing Scandal

( – On Monday, January 8th, the Florida Republican Party voted decisively to expel Chairman Christian Ziegler, following weeks of mounting pressure and a criminal investigation into sexual assault allegations against him. The decision comes more than a month after Sarasota police confirmed the probe.

Ziegler had previously defied calls for resignation, sparking a public spectacle that angered many within the party who deemed the accusations too serious to ignore. In mid-December, the state party’s executive committee censured him, stripping him of his duties and $120,000 annual salary. Key figures like Governor Ron DeSantis and Senator Rick Scott had already publicly urged him to step down.

A voice vote by roughly 200 party members during a Tallahassee meeting removed Ziegler. Some members opposed the motion, stating that Ziegler is no longer considered in good standing with the party. Evan Power, head of the Leon County Republican Party and former state party vice chairman, assumed the chairmanship immediately. Notably, Ziegler was absent from the meeting and has not yet responded to requests for comment.

The Sarasota police launched the investigation into Ziegler, 40, in late November after a woman accused him of rape in October. Though facing no charges, Ziegler vehemently denied any wrongdoing, insisting the encounter was consensual.

Police report and a search warrant affidavit revealed that the woman admitted to consensual encounters with Ziegler and his wife over a year ago. However, on October 2nd, she refused to engage in adult activity with Ziegler after learning his wife wouldn’t be involved. Subsequently, Ziegler allegedly entered her apartment uninvited and assaulted her, claiming to have recorded the incident.

Beyond the assault investigation, the Florida Center for Government Accountability, a nonpartisan organization that broke the news about the criminal probe, has also indicated Ziegler is facing scrutiny for potential video voyeurism.

The impact of this scandal extends beyond Ziegler, reaching his wife, Bridget Ziegler, who serves as a board member on the Sarasota County School Board. Calls for her resignation have intensified due to perceived hypocrisy, given the apparent gulf between her personal life and public image. Last month, the board passed a non-binding resolution urging her to resign, citing the distraction caused by the allegations. However, Bridget Ziegler remains on the board.

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