TALLAHASSEE – Three of Florida’s top elected Republicans have now both called on state GOP Chair Christian Ziegler to resign amid a criminal investigation into alleged rape and sexual assault. Governor Ron DeSantis, Senate President Kathleen Passidomo, and House Speaker Paul Renner are both calling on Ziegler to step down from his position as the investigation into his purported misconduct continues.
Ziegler is currently being accused of raping a woman who’d been in a consensual three-way sexual relationship with he and his wife for years. Reports allege that Ziegler arrived for a planned encountered without his wife Bridget, and that the accuser had opted not to engage in it that day. After that is when Ziegler is accused of raping her.
DeSantis’ stance on the issue became known in the immediate hours following the breaking news of the Ziegler investigation. The governor, who is currently campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination, asserted that Ziegler’s leadership would present a distraction that takes away from the goal of electing Republican candidates in Florida.
Passidomo, a state senator from Naples, agreed with DeSantis. “The Governor is the leader of our Party,” she said in a statement. “I agree with his position. The allegations are serious, and will require Chair Ziegler’s full attention.”
“It is untenable for Christian Ziegler to continue as Chairman of the RPOF and I recommend he resign his post,” concurred Renner, a state Representative from Palm Coast. “The serious allegations at issue require his full attention and we need someone who can provide the singular focus the party needs.”
Top Florida Republicans are joined by leading Democrats in their calls for Ziegler’s resignation, including Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried and Senate Democratic Leader Lauren Book. “I agree with our Senate President Kathleen Passidomo,” Book said. “After being credibly accused of rape, GOP Chair Christian Ziegler must resign immediately.” Book herself is a sexual assault survivor.
Also being questioned is the role of Bridget Ziegler in the relationship given some of her past political positions. Bridget, who has not been accused of misconduct, co-founded the conservative non-profit Moms for Liberty, a group seen by some as anti-LGBTQ+ in the efforts it makes to enact the removal of school library books with queer themes.
Already Bridget has been accused of hypocrisy for having sexual relations with another woman, a detail she reportedly admitted to. In addition to her Moms for Liberty work, Bridget has more recently served as a member of the Sarasota County School Board, and on the Walt Disney World oversight board created by Governor DeSantis.
Christian Ziegler and his legal team maintain his innocence of all accusations, though Ziegler reportedly admitted to consensual sexual relations with the accuser in the past. Police search warrants from the case characterized the accuser as a friend of Ziegler’s for 20 years.
Over the weekend a 911 recording was released, in which an apparent friend of the accuser details the incident. “She hasn’t shown up for work the past two days,” they said. “I just got off the phone with her and she sounds drunk and I know she has pain medication on her and she told me she doesn’t think she can do it anymore.” The caller went on to tell the dispatcher that the accuser said she’d been raped and was scared to leave her house.