The Republican Party of Florida on Monday removed Christian Ziegler as its chairman facing charges rape and video voyeurism.
The vote, which took place during an emergency session in Tallahassee, was highly anticipated after the Sarasota Police Department’s rape investigation against him went public last month. The party elected former vice-chairman Evan Power as its new chairman. Power had the support of some of Florida’s most prominent Republicans, including Governor Ron DeSantis.
Ziegler did not participate in the vote.
“Congratulations to our new Chairman @EvanPower” party Posted in X. “Under his strong leadership, we will keep Florida RED, deliver Florida’s 30 electoral votes to the GOP presidential nominee, and elect Republicans on the ballot. Let’s get to work!”
Four sources in the room said there was very little support for Ziegler to stay on as chairman, with the exact number unclear because it was a voice vote.
“I think it was almost a unanimous vote to fire Christian Ziegler, which I think is definitely the right thing to do,” the source told NBC News. “And I want to reiterate that we’re spending a lot of time and energy on this meeting instead of focusing on what we should be focusing on, and that’s simply because Christian Ziegler didn’t do the right thing and resigned.”
Ziegler is the first to face the allegations informed by The Florida Center for Government Accountability said he and his wife Bridget sexually assaulted a Sarasota woman they had known for 20 years.
Before the meeting in early October, Bridget said she couldn’t attend and she canceled. According to court documents, Christian still came to her apartment and raped her.
Ziegler has maintained his innocence and refused to resign as Florida GOP chairman, prompting Monday’s emergency meeting.
Power, the new chairman, lost his race against Ziegler during the 2023 race, but in recent weeks some of the party’s biggest names have backed his run. The only other candidate was Peter Faeman, a member of the Republican National Committee.
In addition to the molestation allegations, the Sarasota County Police Department last week expanded its investigation into whether Ziegler illegally recorded sex with the woman, following a search warrant approved by a judge on Dec. 8 seeking access to Ziegler’s social media messages.
According to the woman’s statement to the police, she did not agree with Christian Ziegler recording the encounter.
The investigation drew national attention because both Christian and Bridget are prominent Florida Republicans. Bridget is the co-founder of Moms for Liberty, a nationwide group that works to get conservative women elected to local school boards.
Bridget has not been accused of any wrongdoing, but she has faced critics who say she is a hypocrite for focusing on conservative policy issues based on the passage of anti-LGBTQ legislation in many cases.
Most notably, Bridget took public credit for helping to write DeSantis’ champion bill that would have prevented the discussion of gender identity or sexual preference in classrooms through third grade. Supporters said it was about empowering parents, while opponents called it a “don’t say gay” bill.