Republican Party of Florida Vice Chair Evan Power wants a special meeting to discuss state Chair Christian Ziegler’s future.
In an email blast to the state party’s board members, Power said a special meeting needs to occur with Ziegler under criminal investigation for rape.
“It is with a heavy heart I write this email to you,” Power wrote to board members. “Over the last few days, we have seen the news and have received calls from the press about the situation with our Chairman. Many of you have called me, and I have tried to talk to as many of you as possible. I have been informed that it is the will of the board to have an opportunity to discuss these recent developments.”
But he said Ziegler would not call such a meeting himself. Instead, he said the matter can wait until next year’s quarterly meeting.
“In an act of respect for the Chairman, this evening, I phoned him to request he call an executive board meeting,” Power wrote. “He declined and said the matters could be taken up in February. It is the opinion of the many members that it is not an acceptable timetable.”
Power wants a special meeting in Orlando on Dec. 17, or 13 days after Power sent his email.
Power said an emergency meeting may be called by the Chair or, in cases of a conflict, the Vice Chair.
“Because of my role as Vice Chairman, I now offer the following call for a Special Meeting with an option for each of you to sign on to,” Power wrote. “I hope that we are able to move the Party forward in a positive manner as the 2024 elections are the most important elections we face in my lifetime. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reply to this email or give me a call or text.”
Members can force a special meeting to take place. For example, Lake County Republican Party Chair Anthony Sabatini secured petition signatures demanding a special meeting. After he secured 30 signatures from board members, that forced then-Chair Joe Gruters to hold such a meeting in Sarasota in January, though not enough members attended to make a quorum.
Power appears to be following a similar path regarding gathering support but with only the state party’s 39-member executive committee members. He has laid out an agenda for a meeting at the Rosen Center Hotel, a frequent site for political conventions, conferences and meetings.
The agenda includes potential censure or discipline for Ziegler following party rules. That includes determining if Ziegler must be deemed unfit for office and whether his actions have hurt the “good name of the RPOF.”
Power wants the Party to consider appointing a special investigative committee to look at Ziegler’s actions and recommend an appropriate response by the executive committee.
He also wants members to discuss suspending Ziegler’s responsibilities and pay during any investigation and to potentially hold a vote of no confidence or to censure Ziegler.
Multiple sources say party bylaws don’t allow a vote to remove the Chair.
But whether that could change, or whether a lesser punishment, would be discussed at length during the confidential meeting, as proposed by Power.
“We have a country to save, and I am not going to let false allegations of a crime put that mission on the bench as I wait for this process to wrap up,” Ziegler wrote to members.
Ziegler was elected as state chair in February, defeating Power. He then nominated Power for Vice Chair.