Three-quarters of the Republican Party of Florida’s Executive Committee support holding a special meeting on Chair Christian Ziegler’s future.
That means Ziegler must hold a special meeting in Orlando on Dec. 17, where members will discuss censuring the embattled party leader or even if rules allow for his expulsion from the Party.
In an email to Board members, Power said Ziegler, who has maintained his innocence, would not call a meeting himself, and said any matters could wait until a quarterly meeting in February. But Power said the Party can’t wait.
“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,” he said. “If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reply to this email or give me a call or text.”
Power sought support from all of the executive committee’s 40 members.
Based on Power’s proposed resolution, the meeting will discuss possible disciplinary action on Ziegler, whether the Chair is unfit for office, and if his actions have hurt the “good name of the RPOF.”
Several sources say party rules do not set out any process for removing a Chair. Ziegler to date, has rebuffed any calls to step aside. He sent a blast email to party members claiming he had received encouraging calls from “Congressmen, state elected leaders, prominent social conservative leaders and county party leaders.”
But it appears even some who once supported Ziegler have soured as more details of the criminal investigation emerged.
Of note, while Ziegler has denied a rape charge leveled by a Sarasota woman, he admitted to police he went to the woman’s apartment and had sex with her on Oct. 2, according to documents already made public. Both Ziegler and his wife, Sarasota County School Board member Bridget Ziegler, admitted to engaging in a three-way sexual encounter with the accuser more than a year before the alleged incident.
Lee County Republican Chair Michael Thompson said he spoke to Ziegler the day news broke, and Ziegler said the accusations were made up. Then, the search warrant showed details about the tryst with the woman. Thompson said he felt deceived after making supportive comments in the press.
“I called him back and told him MAGA Nation was calling for him to resign,” Thompson said. “Then he got angry and started making threats at me. I told him, ‘You are the last person who needs to be making threats.’”
Ziegler could not be reached for comment about the upcoming meeting.
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.
Meanwhile, the list of Florida political leaders has started to grow dramatically. Gov. Ron DeSantis called for Ziegler’s removal shortly after news of the investigation became public.
In addition to the serious nature of the criminal investigation itself, Republican leaders said it would be impossible for Ziegler to lead the Party during a presidential election year while his legal problems unfold.