In the wake of a rape allegation that prompted a police investigation, the Republican Party of Florida voted decisively on Monday to oust Christian Ziegler as chair and install Vice Chair Evan Power in his place.
The departure of Christian Ziegler brings an end to a turbulent time for Florida Republicans, during which two of their leading personalities were embroiled in scandal.
Search warrant records state that Ziegler was accused of rape by a woman who claimed to have had a previous consensual three-way sexual experience with the GOP leader and his wife, Sarasota County School Board person and Moms for Liberty co-founder Bridget Ziegler.
Christian Ziegler did not attend the Tallahassee closed-door meeting, where two officials said that an “overwhelming” majority of party members voted to remove him. Still, a few Republicans objected to his leaving.
According to the officials, the party’s executive board decided to replace Ziegler with Evan Power, the vice chair of the Florida GOP, who had just received Governor Ron DeSantis’ endorsement.
Blaise Ingoglia (R), a state senator and former party chair, said on X, formerly Twitter, that just two attendees of the party’s Monday meeting opposed a voice vote to remove Ziegler.
Sen. Joe Gruters, the party head who came before Ziegler, told the AP they needed to put this behind them and concentrate on 2024. According to him, Florida is one of the most crucial states for the Republicans, and they must keep winning, particularly for Rick Scott and the top spot on the ticket with Trump as their nominee.
After the decision to remove Christian Ziegler, Evan Power declared that he felt good and that Florida was ready to proceed.
It was nice to close this chapter, he continued. According to him, the Republican Party of Florida was made up of many people, and today they came together to close this chapter and move on to keep winning elections going forward.
Consensual sexual encounter: Ziegler has maintained that he had a sexual interaction with the lady who accused him of rape.
Since both of them support traditional family values, the couple was accused of being hypocritical after the scandalous disclosure of the three-way relationship.
The information sparked demands that both Zieglers resign from their positions and has been a major source of trouble for the party as it attempts to raise money and organize in the year of a presidential race.
DeSantis also appointed Bridget Ziegler to the Walt Disney World governing district board last year. Disney openly opposed a state law that forbade teachings on sexual orientation and gender identity in early grades; as revenge, DeSantis and the GOP-controlled Florida Legislature took over the district last year. DeSantis represented the law.
The woman claims that in October, Ziegler sexually assaulted her at her residence; the Sarasota Police Department is looking into this claim.
According to police records, Bridget Ziegler was supposed to attend a sexual threesome that day, but she was unable to do so. Christian Ziegler, according to the complainant, showed up nonetheless and attacked her.
Even though Christian Ziegler is not charged with any felonies, the police investigation is still ongoing, and the behavior documented in the police affidavits raises moral questions that render him unqualified to lead the party, according to Florida GOP officials.
A Board Member’s Statement About Christian Ziegler
The 40-member Florida GOP executive board unanimously decided to take away Ziegler’s authority and decrease his annual salary of about $120,000 during a meeting called by emergency on December 17.
Following the private discussion, one board member stated that he could not see how Ziegler could have lasted at this point. Ziegler was always going to be Chairman Threesome, the board member said, and after that he was a CHINO, or Chairman in Name Only.
Ziegler claimed the room at an Orlando hotel that he didn’t do anything illegal and that he would be vindicated before colleagues voted to penalize him.