Florida GOP Chair Accused of Rape Ousted Month After Wife Admits Threesome

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Florida GOP Chair Accused of Rape Ousted Month After Wife Admits Threesome

Christian Ziegler was overwhelmingly ousted from his chairmanship of the Florida Republican Party in a closed-door meeting on Monday as he faces a rape investigation, according to reports.

Two people who attended the vote to remove Ziegler confirmed with Politico that the former chairman had been banished. A report from the Tampa Bay Times on Monday said that hundreds of Republicans from across the state had traveled to Tallahassee to partake in the vote.

Ziegler’s ousting comes as he faces a criminal investigation into allegations that he raped a woman with whom he and his wife, Bridget Ziegler, previously had a three-way sexual encounter. Bridget Ziegler, co-founder of conservative group Moms for Liberty and a Sarasota County school board member, told police in early November that she and her husband had engaged in a consensual sexual encounter with the woman roughly a year prior to the reported assault.

Florida GOP Chair Accused of Rape Ousted
The Florida State Capitol building is pictured on November 10, 2018, in Tallahassee, Florida. Christian Ziegler was ousted from his chairmanship of the Florida Republican Party on Monday, weeks after facing rape allegations.
Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images

According to a search warrant affidavit, the woman is a longtime friend of the Zieglers and the three had been planning another sexual encounter on the day that the alleged sexual assault took place. After Bridget Ziegler canceled plans at the last minute to meet up, the woman said, Christian Ziegler showed up at her home in Sarasota, Florida, and forced himself on her, according to the police affidavit.

Christian Ziegler, who according to local reports was replaced as head of his state GOP by Tallahassee lobbyist Evan Power, has maintained that his encounter with the woman was consensual, although revelations about his and his wife’s sexual history immediately prompted calls for Ziegler to step down as Florida’s GOP chairman, including from Republican presidential hopeful and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. According to the Tampa Bay Times, which cited Helen Ferre, the party’s executive director, Ziegler was ousted in a 199-3 voice vote on Monday.

Bridget Ziegler has also faced pressure to resign from her position on the Sarasota County school board, although a vote calling for her resignation last month is non-binding. She stepped down from her position at Moms for Liberty—a conservative parental-rights group that targets LGBTQ+ materials in public schools—in 2021.

On social media, Florida’s Republican Party celebrated the election of Power, who had served as vice chair of the state GOP and covered Ziegler’s responsibilities after the former chair was suspended last month.

“Under his strong leadership, we will Keep Florida RED, deliver Florida’s 30 electoral votes to the GOP presidential candidate, and elect Republicans up and down the ballot,” the Florida GOP said in a post to X, formerly Twitter, on Monday. “Let’s get to work!”

Power responded to the post, saying that it was “the honor of a life, now let’s #KeepFloridaWinning.”

Newsweek reached out to Florida’s GOP via email for comment.

Update 1/8/24, 4:18 p.m. ET: This article has been updated with additional information and background.

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Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

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