An investigation is underway on the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida Christian Ziegler after an allegation of sexual battery was made against him. The announcement sent a shock wave through the Republican Party. That said, the Florida GOP has refused to comment on the investigation.
“The Republican Party of Florida is aware of the allegations related to Chairman Christian Ziegler. An investigation is being conducted by authorities and RPOF will not be commenting on an ongoing investigation,” said the Florida GOP in a statement on Friday.
According to the Sarasota Police Department, the alleged incident took place in early October. Heavily redacted reports of the incident were given to various news outlets alluding to an unknown individual being assaulted at Ziegler’s home. According to The Guardian, sources have also claimed that both the victim and Ziegler were involved in a relationship together.
Christian Ziegler and his wife Bridget Ziegler have been at the forefront of many current Republican events, with Bridget Ziegler being the co-founder of the conservative parents’ rights organization Moms for Liberty. Florida governor and presidential candidate Ron DeSantis backed her efforts in leading the removal of “inappropriate books” for children off school shelves.
Ziegler’s attorney Derek Byrd released a statement saying that his client would cooperate with the investigation and that he was confident that Ziegler would be “completely exonerated” once the investigation ends.
Unfortunately, not everyone is confident in Ziegler’s innocence. In his Thursday debate with California Governor Gavin Newsom, Desantis remarked that Ziegler should “step aside” to focus on the investigation.
“I don’t see how we can continue with that investigation ongoing, given the gravity of those situations,” said DeSantis. “I think he should step aside – I think he should tend to that.”
This is in large contrast to many Florida Democrats who are calling for Ziegler’s resignation, including Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Nikki Fried.
“Allegations of rape and sexual battery are severe and should be taken seriously,” said Fried. “Christian Ziegler can’t possibly continue to lead the Florida GOP under these conditions. Given the severity of the criminal allegations, I’m calling for his immediate resignation.”
“As for the more salacious allegations — what happens behind closed doors is Christian and Bridget’s personal business. That being said, I do find it interesting that two people who are so obsessed with banning books about gay penguins might be engaged in a non-traditional sexual relationship,” she continued.