Last Call for 12.6.23 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

A digest of the day's politics and policy while the bartender refreshes your drink.

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

The clock is ticking for Republican Party of Florida Chair Christian Ziegler.

While bylaws for the state party don’t specifically allow for the removal of a Chair, the party constitution contains provisions for establishing a tribunal to judge misconduct by a state officer.

Ziegler remains under active criminal investigation after a woman accused him of raping her in a Sarasota apartment. Police documents show Ziegler admitted to a sexual encounter but said it was consensual. Both Ziegler and his wife, Sarasota County School Board member Bridget Ziegler, told police they had a threesome with the woman more than a year prior.

Earlier this week, Republican Party of Florida Vice Chair Evan Power sent an email to executive members seeking support for a special meeting in Orlando to discuss Ziegler’s future in the party. Tuesday night, enough members replied to that call to ensure a meeting would happen.

Sources within the Republican Party say 33 of the 40 members of the party executive committee signed onto the demand for the meeting. The constitution requires half the members to agree.

The high level of support for his ouster comes after a flood of elected leaders have publicly called for him to step down — the list includes Gov. Ron DeSantis, Attorney General Ashley Moody, Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, Agriculture Commissioner Wilton Simpson and top legislative leaders, among many others.

The action won’t be immediate. In total, the process could take at least 30 days, presuming Ziegler does not resign his position in the meantime.

Evening Reads

—“A key adviser returns to Ron DeSantis’ main super PAC” via Maggie Haberman and Shane Goldmacher of The New York Times

—”Why DeSantis doesn’t have a prayer in Iowa” via Benjamin Wallace-Wells of The New Yorker

—“Donald Trump says he’ll be a dictator on ‘Day One’” via David A. Graham of The Atlantic

—“The Israel-Hamas war is tearing American cultural institutions apart” via Marin Cogan of Vox

—“María Elvira Salazar to return donations from ex-Ambassador accused of spying for Cuba” via Jacob Ogles of Florida Politics

—“Florida Supreme Court hears arguments in case of suspended state attorney Monique Worrell” via Mitch Perry of the Florida Phoenix

—“Florida higher education is in a ‘horrifying’ place, U.S. faculty group says” via Divya Kumar of the Tampa Bay Times

—“AP African American course updated with key changes pushed by DeSantis” via Sommer Brugal and Ana Ceballos of the Miami Herald/Tampa Bay Times

—“Redondo condo? GOP candidate wins state House race in South Florida amid questions over district residency” via Silas Morgan of Fresh Take Florida

Quote of the Day

“We want to see Christian given full due process of law in a timely fashion, but the moral failings outside of the criminal allegations require us to remind all of our community leaders that they are held to a higher standard.”

— Republican Party of Sarasota County Chair Jack Brill, who joined the chorus of officials calling for Ziegler’s resignation.

Put It on the Tab

Look to your left, then look to your right. If you see one of these people at your happy hour haunt, flag down the bartender and put one of these on your tab. Recipes included, just in case the Cocktail Codex fell into the well.

Gov. Ron DeSantis gets a Surge for shooting above 20% in new polling ahead of the Iowa Caucuses. Assuming you don’t have a can of the defunct 1990s Coca-Cola product lying around, mixologists have crafted a spiked version that’s pretty tasty.

Our first recommendation would be that U.S. Sen. Rick Scott avoid eating whatever “sewage garlic” is, but if he insists on torturing his tummy, a Kentucky Horsefeather is an excellent digestif.

A Cuba Libre is a little on the nose, but U.S. Rep. Maria Salazar deserves a round for returning campaign donations she received from an alleged Cuban spy. Luckily, there are other appropriate options!

New mothers would get a jury duty exemption under legislation advancing through the House. That gets them … well, a New Mother Mocktail for now, but whatever they want once the kid is old enough to leave at grandma’s for the night.

Breakthrough Insights

Tune In

Just over a quarter of the way through the NHL season, the Florida Panthers stand in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, a point behind third-place Detroit. Tonight, the Panthers host the Dallas Stars (7 p.m. ET, TNT) at Amerant Bank Arena.

Both teams have opened the season in a similar fashion. Both have won 14 games. Both have double-digit goal differentials. Both are in second place in their respective divisions, both have won five of their last 10 games and both are coming off losses, Dallas falling in the first leg of their Florida road trip 4-0 in Tampa Bay.

Florida needs to re-establish the home-ice advantage. The Panthers opened the season winning seven of their first eight games in Miami but have lost their last three on home ice, including a 4-3 loss to the New York Islanders on Saturday. It’s much too early in the season for a “must-win game” but this one feels like the kind of game that could determine the path for the rest of the month for both teams.

Keep an eye on Panthers’ goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky. He has not allowed more than one goal in his last four starts.


Last Call is published by Peter Schorsch, assembled and edited by Phil Ammann and Drew Wilson, with contributions from the staff of Florida Politics.

Staff Reports


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

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