Kathleen Passidomo leads fresh call for Christian Ziegler’s resignation

The Florida GOP state Chair faces accusations of rape. Wife Bridget Ziegler admitted to a threesome with the accuser.

Florida Senate President Kathleen Passidomo believes Republican Party of Florida Christian Ziegler must resign.

She told Florida Politics she agrees with Gov. Ron DeSantis that a rape accusation makes it impossible for him to lead the party and that dealing with his legal troubles will require Zeigler’s full attention.

Her remarks came after DeSantis said Ziegler should step down.

“The Governor is the leader of our Party,” Passidomo said. “I agree with his position. The allegations are serious.”

A woman told Sarasota Police that Ziegler raped her on Oct. 2. A search warrant used to obtain digital information from Ziegler’s electronic devices confirms he was at the woman’s home at the time in question. Ziegler and his wife, Sarasota School Board Member Bridget Ziegler, confirmed to police that both had been involved in a prior sexual encounter with the woman on at least one occasion a year before.

Nearly two months after the accusation was filed with police, no charges have been filed, but Ziegler remains under active criminal investigation. To date, he has rebuffed DeSantis’ call for his resignation.

Passidomo, a Naples Republican, is now the most prominent state lawmaker to date to call for Ziegler to step aside. But other elected officials have also said he needs to resign.

State Sen. Dennis Baxley, an Ocala Republican, agreed Ziegler must go. When asked by Florida Politics if Ziegler should resign, Baxley replied “Yes. Unfortunately. Very sad.”

State Rep. Spencer Roach, a North Fort Myers Republican, said Christian Ziegler should resign as party Chair “immediately” and Bridget Ziegler should resign her School Board seat.

“The sooner these headlines read ‘former Republican Party of Florida Chair,’ the better for the party,” Roach said.

He compared the disgust within Republican circles to the feeling Florida Democrats felt after photos emerged of former gubernatorial Andrew Gillum nude in a Miami hotel room where another man had been treated for a drug overdose. Gillum faced no charges for the incident, but the matter effectively ended his political career.

Roach said the entire affair with the Zieglers has similarly exposed hypocrisy and embarrassed the entire party.

“In speaking with colleagues, Republicans and Democrats, it’s not necessarily that they engaged in an alternative lifestyle that bothers people,” Roach said. “It’s holding themselves out as a paragon of Christian conservative values, and then living this double life behind the scenes.”

But not everyone in Florida GOP circles is calling for Ziegler’s head.

State Rep. Alex Andrade, a Pensacola Republican, said such calls are premature, noting Ziegler for the moment only faces an accusation of a crime.

“I won’t have an opinion like that until I see an indictment or charging document,” Andrade said. “A police report isn’t even probable cause or admissible as evidence. Until there’s an indictment, the whole ‘resignation’ debate (is a) distraction at this point.”

Former Manatee County Republican Party Chair Steve Vernon said Ziegler’s resignation would set a dangerous precedent for the party.

“He hasn’t even been charged yet, so it’s very premature to think he should resign,” Vernon posted on X. “If an accusation is all that’s necessary to get someone out of office, we are in big trouble as a country.”

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • My Take

    December 3, 2023 at 12:06 pm

    Yet rapist Trump is A-ÒK with these cultists.

  • PeterH

    December 3, 2023 at 1:08 pm

    “If I resign…..I can no longer grift!” WHAAAA!

  • Defending the Indefensible

    December 3, 2023 at 2:01 pm

    We’re in big trouble as a country, for sure, because of Republicans like the Zieglers and Vernon, three on a long list.

  • hammering hank

    December 3, 2023 at 5:58 pm

    3 SOME

  • Impeach Biden

    December 3, 2023 at 11:15 pm

    The tease wanted it and had it coming.
    I hope Ziegler is the next Governor.

    • rick whitaker

      December 3, 2023 at 11:31 pm

      impeach biden, your comment sounds like that of an accused rapist.

    • hammering hank

      December 4, 2023 at 9:29 am

      typical comment from the weak & ignorant MAGA crowd
      head to church little monkey
      learn something

Comments are closed.


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