Florida GOP suspends chairman, demands resignation amid rape allegations

Christian Ziegler, the chair of the Republican Party of Florida, was suspended during an emergency meeting Sunday and demanded to resign.  The moves add to calls by Gov. Ron DeSantis and other politicians for him to step down while police investigate a rape accusation against him. Ziegler is accused of raping a woman with whom he and his wife, Moms for Liberty co-founder Bridget Ziegler, had a prior consensual sexual relationship, according to police records. “Ziegler on soap box trying to defend himself, not working,” Lee County GOP Chairman Michael Thomason posted to the social media platform X. Thomason posted a series of tweets during the closed-door meeting, with the final being a picture of a document titled “motion to suspend authority.” SCHOOL BOARD VOTES TO OUST ‘MOMS FOR LIBERTY’ CO-FOUNDER AMID FLORIDA GOP SEX SCANDAL The party’s executive committee will hold a second vote in the future on whether to remove Ziegler permanently. The Sarasota Police Department is investigating an incident that was reported on Oct. 4, but allegedly occurred inside a woman’s home on Oct. 2. Police documents say the Zieglers and the woman had planned a sexual encounter that day, but Bridget Ziegler was unable to make it. The accuser says Christian Ziegler arrived anyway and assaulted her. While Bridget Ziegler is not accused of any crime, the accusation against her husband has caused turmoil for her. The Sarasota School Board member was asked to resign following a vote on Tuesday. She refused, according to the Associated Press.  FLORIDA GOP CHAIRMAN CHRISTIAN ZIEGLER CLAIMS INNOCENCE, WILL NOT RESIGN OVER RAPE ALLEGATION Christian Ziegler has denied the rape allegation, and said the encounter with the woman was consensual. Sarasota police did not immediately respond to a request for an update on the investigation, including whether Christian Ziegler has been charged with a crime. As of Dec. 13, he had not.  In addition to DeSantis, Republican 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.  The Florida Democratic Party called on Christian Ziegler to step down in November.  The Associated Press contributed to this report. 
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