Republican Party of Florida Chair Christian Ziegler attended a local party meeting hours after allegedly raping a woman.
Video shows Ziegler attended an Oct. 2 Republican Party of Sarasota meeting, and showed up around 5:20 p.m.
That’s less than three hours after surveillance video captured Ziegler driving to a woman’s apartment in a pickup truck with an SRQG0P license plate, according to a police search warrant. He showed up at 2:29 p.m., and could be seen driving away from the apartment complex at 3:07 p.m.
In the time he was there, the woman told police he caught her at her door, then forced her to have sex with him inside the apartment. He admitted to the sexual encounter, which he said was consensual. The warrant suggests Ziegler had told the woman by text that his wife, School Board Member Bridget Ziegler, would have come over to be part of the sex too had the meeting occurred an hour earlier.
A text message in the warrant shows the woman told Christian Ziegler five minutes before his arrival at the complex that she only wanted to meet if the husband and wife came over together.
“Sorry I was mostly in for her,” the woman texted Christian Ziegler at 2:24 p.m.
But it also put together a timeline upsetting to those who attended the county Republican meeting. Many reported Ziegler was in a good mood at the event, but arrived late and had to leave early for a family commitment. He stayed at the meeting for only a half hour.
The search warrant shows Sarasota Police have been trying to obtain video of the encounter allegedly taken by Ziegler and uploaded to his Google Drive.
Ziegler to date have not faced any charges over the rape allegations.
But regardless of whether he ever faces charges, many in the Republican Party of Florida have increasingly grown upset that he has remained chair days after accusations first became public.
Matt Caldwell, a state committeeman for Lee County, said Ziegler should step down.
“The police investigation and criminal charges will take their own courses,” Caldwell said. “But he has essentially admitted to an adulterous three-way affair with this woman. I certainly have no interest in an RPOF chair who is doing that.”
Republican leaders in the Florida Legislature have called for him to step down as well, including Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and House Speaker Paul Renner.
Gov. Ron DeSantis called for Ziegler to step down as party chair the day the news broke, last Thursday. But as of Monday evening, Ziegler has rebuffed any such calls.