Florida Republicans are voting on whether to remove the party chairman accused of rape

(Phelan M. Ebenhack / Associated Press)

Florida Republicans are voting on whether to remove the party chairman accused of rape


January 8, 2024

The Republican Party of Florida will hold a special meeting Monday to vote on whether to oust Chairman Christian Ziegler and elect a new leader as police investigate a rape allegation against him. Ron DeSantis participates in the first presidential caucus in Iowa.

The party suspended Ziegler last month and demanded his resignation, saying he could not lead effectively during a crucial election year as allegations he denies swirled around him. DeSantis, U.S. Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott and other Republican leaders have called on Ziegler to resign, but he has refused.

DeSantis is seeking the Republican nomination for president, but ahead of the Jan. 15 caucus in Iowa, he is far behind former President Trump, who is also from Florida. Scott is running for re-election. Florida will also play a key role in determining control of the U.S. House of Representatives.

We need to put this behind us and focus on 2024. Florida is one of the most important states for the Republicans and we need to keep winning, especially for Rick Scott and ultimately the top of the ticket with Trump as our nominee. said state Sen. Joe Gruters, who preceded Ziegler as party chairman.

The meeting is expected to take place behind closed doors at a conference center in Tallahassee.

In addition to the rape accusation, there is another difficult element for the party. Under DeSantis, Florida has stripped the rights of LGBTQ+ Floridians and banned instruction about gender identity and sexual orientation in schools.

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Ziegler and his wife, Moms for Liberty co-founder Bridget Ziegler, admitted to police that they previously had a consensual sexual relationship with Christian Ziegler’s accuser.

Sarasota police are investigating the woman’s allegation that Ziegler raped her in her apartment in October. According to police documents, the Zieglers and the woman had planned a sexual threesome that day, but Bridget Ziegler was unable to attend. Prosecutors say Christian Ziegler arrived anyway and attacked her.

Christian Ziegler has not been charged with a crime and says he is innocent. He claims the meeting was consensual.

Bridget Ziegler, an elected member of the Sarasota School Board, has not been charged with any crime. The board voted last month to ask her to resign, but she refused.

The couple have been outspoken opponents of LGBTQ+ rights, and their relationship with another woman has led to criticism and accusations of hypocrisy.


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