TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Republican Party of Florida has suspended Chairman Christian Ziegler and demanded his resignation following an emergency meeting held on Sunday. The move comes in response to calls from Gov. Ron DeSantis and other top officials urging him to step down amidst an ongoing police investigation into a rape accusation against him.
The accusation stems from an alleged sexual assault involving Ziegler and a woman with whom he and his wife, Moms for Liberty co-founder Bridget Ziegler, had previously engaged in a consensual sexual relationship, according to police records.
The party’s motion to censure Ziegler states, “Christian Ziegler has engaged in conduct that renders him unfit for the office.” This statement was quoted in a document posted on the social media platform X by Lee County GOP Chairman Michael Thomason.
During the closed-door meeting, Ziegler attempted to defend himself, but the party board swiftly took action against him, as reported by Thompson. Thompson noted on social media that Ziegler’s defense did not sway the board members.
The party’s executive committee will convene for another vote in the future to decide whether Ziegler should be removed from his position.
Meanwhile, the Sarasota Police Department is conducting an investigation into the woman’s allegation that Ziegler raped her at her apartment in October. According to police documents, the Zieglers and the woman had initially planned to engage in a consensual threesome, but Bridget Ziegler was unable to attend. The accuser claims that Christian Ziegler proceeded with the encounter regardless and assaulted her.
To date, Christian Ziegler has not been charged with any crime and maintains his innocence, stating that the encounter was consensual.
Additionally, the accusation has had repercussions for Bridget Ziegler, who serves as an elected member of the Sarasota School Board. Despite not being accused of any crime, the board voted on Tuesday to request her resignation, a request she refused to comply with.
Criticism and accusations of hypocrisy have followed the couple due to their outspoken opposition to LGBTQ+ rights and their involvement with another woman. Notably, several prominent Republican figures, including Gov. DeSantis, Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, and Florida’s Republican House and Senate leaders, have all called for Christian Ziegler’s resignation.