Christian Ziegler Officially Booted From Florida GOP As Police Expand Investigation

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KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES - 2023/11/04: Florida GOP Chairman Christian Ziegler addresses attendees at the Republican Party of Florida Freedom Summit at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee. Ziegler is under ... KISSIMMEE, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES - 2023/11/04: Florida GOP Chairman Christian Ziegler addresses attendees at the Republican Party of Florida Freedom Summit at the Gaylord Palms Resort in Kissimmee. Ziegler is under criminal investigation for allegations related to sexual battery, including rape, according to a complaint released on November 30, 2023 which was filed with the Sarasota Police Department. (Photo by Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) MORE LESS
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During a closed-door emergency voice vote on Monday, Christian Ziegler was formally booted from his role as the chairman of the Florida Republican Party, just a few weeks after the party voted to strip the accused rapist of his salary and diminished his authority as chairman.

At the time, the Florida GOP urged Ziegler to resign but the body couldn’t officially oust him because state bylaws don’t allow it. Florida Republicans did in early December set in motion a maneuver that would allow them to use the state party constitution to potentially expel Ziegler within 30 days. That may be what materialized today, though it is not entirely clear as the meeting was held behind closed doors.

Multiple local and national news outlets reported the news Monday afternoon, citing sources in the room who said there was little to no support for Ziegler expressed as part of the proceedings. One source told NBC News that the vote to remove Ziegler — who has denied the rape allegation and has ignored calls from Florida’s top Republicans, including Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Marco Rubio, to step down — was unanimous.

The Florida GOP confirmed the election of a new chairman, former party vice chair, Evan Power, who lost to Ziegler for the chairmanship in 2023, in a tweet. Both Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Byron Donalds (R-FL) attended Monday’s meeting, according to CNN.

The ousting comes just a week after the Sarasota Police Department expanded its investigation into the alleged rape incident, in which a woman who has been in a three-way sexual relationship with Christian Ziegler and his wife/prominent Florida Republican Bridget Ziegler accused Christian Ziegler of raping her. Bridget Ziegler has not been accused of any crimes, but has faced political backlash over the allegations, primarily due to the fact that she’s built a political career in Florida by helping to dismantle protections for LGBTQ rights in the state.

Sarasota police are also reportedly looking into whether Ziegler illegally videotaped the incident. Reports about the expanded probe last week were based on a search warrant affidavit that a judge approved in early December. Police were reportedly seeking access to Ziegler’s social media direct messages to help them determine whether a sex tape was recorded with or without the victim’s consent.

More broadly, the ousting comes as the nation enters a year of elections crucial for Republicans both federally and at the state level. It also comes at a time when DeSantis and other top Florida Republicans have a vested interest in national perceptions of their state party. A dysfunctional Florida GOP will do little to boost the state’s governor and will likely only help fellow Florida Man Donald Trump as the two face off in Iowa next week — and Trump holds a commanding lead.

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