Sources: Christian Ziegler wants multimillion-dollar buyout to step down as Florida GOP Chair
Christian Ziegler throws his hat in the crowded ring for Florida GOP Chair.

The overtures for money come days ahead of an expected meeting of the party's executive board.

Christian Ziegler wants a multimillion-dollar buyout to resign as the Republican Party of Florida’s (RPOF) Chair, party sources confirmed.

The demand comes as the political leader remains under investigation for rape and involved in a scandal making national headlines.

Multiple sources confirm Ziegler has asked for a massive payout — one source said $2 million — to go away. Officials within the state party confirmed emissaries for Ziegler approached the party on his behalf.

But one RPOF official said the party is in no position to offer Ziegler any money. Another was skeptical any request would be entertained, because the party already set a process in motion to force Ziegler out of power.

Ziegler has denied seeking such a payout.

Overtures of a buyout came days ahead of a scheduled meeting of the Republican Party of Florida’s executive board. Party officials on Sunday are expected to launch an investigation of Ziegler and ultimately to impose sanctions, which could include Ziegler’s expulsion from the party.

In the meantime, the scandal continues to make national headlines, paralyzing the state party and embarrassing those previously allied to the political leader.

A Sarasota woman in October told police Ziegler raped her in her apartment. Ziegler maintains the sexual encounter was consensual, and police have reportedly obtained video taken on Ziegler’s phone that contradicts key parts of the woman’s account.

But Ziegler and his wife, Sarasota County School Board member Bridget Ziegler, admitted to police they previously engaged in a threesome with the woman. Digital communications between Ziegler and the accuser indicate they intended to meet for another three-way sexual encounter, per investigation documents already made public. The accuser told Christian Ziegler she was no longer interested when Bridget Ziegler could not attend.

The Zieglers have been on the front line of culture war battles in Florida politics. Bridget Ziegler, a co-founder of Moms For Liberty, stood alongside Gov. Ron DeSantis when he signed a legislation decried by critics as the “Don’t Say Gay” law, barring teachers from including anything about sexual orientation or gender identity in classroom instruction.

The Sarasota County School Board on Tuesday approved a resolution calling for Bridget Ziegler to resign, and she has already lost a job with the Leadership Institute, a conservative think tank based in Washington.

But Christian Ziegler rebuffed numerous calls to leave his post as state Chair, including from DeSantis, U.S. Sen. Rick Scott, the entire Florida Cabinet and leaders of the Republican-controlled Florida Legislature.

The state party’s constitution allows a process for punishing its elected leadership. Some executive members planning to attend hope to force Ziegler’s exit from the party as soon as Monday.

But others say the party’s constitution sets out a more lengthy process that could require additional meetings. Those would need to be scheduled as the holiday season approaches and the state’s Legislative Session looms in January.

Party officials acknowledged they are still exploring all allowable options, and that an ouster could happen quickly or take time. What officials legally determine could impact how much leverage Ziegler brings if he insists on being bought out before the end of his term.

Meanwhile, political critics from across the aisle guffawed at the possibility of Ziegler profiting off the scandal.

“This is an absolute joke,” said Florida Democratic Party Chair Nikki Fried. “Christian Ziegler has spent weeks dragging his name, his family and his party through the mud and he wants $2 million to step down? I’ve heard more reasonable demands from toddlers.

“Let’s not forget — Christian Ziegler is an accused rapist. If the buyout request is true, thinking that he’s owed money for putting the Florida GOP in this situation shows exactly how little respect he has for Floridians. The best time for him to resign was two weeks ago. The second best time is now.”

Many Republicans agreed, and said the party should not agree to any payout deal.

“This crosses the line from hypocrisy to outright grift,” said state Rep. Spencer Roach, a North Fort Myers Republican who served on the state party’s executive committee. “The Zieglers should not receive one dime of donor money, and I am disgusted that this is even being considered. I will use all of my political capital to work against this and to oppose anyone who votes for a payout.”

Similarly, state Rep. Michelle Salzman, a Pensacola Republican, posted on X that she opposed any such arrangement.

“Our party has a much larger responsibility at this time in history. The last thing we need to be doing is paying off a chairman that does not have the best interest of our party at heart,” she said. “Even asking for this money shows where his priorities are. (IF this is true). I’M A HARD NO!!!”

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].


  • Bwj

    December 14, 2023 at 11:42 am


    • Rushton Sedberry

      December 14, 2023 at 6:56 pm

      I was targeted by a law enforcement mafia. My Aunt Holly Harden is a party of it. Once you are in the system they will put people in your life by viewing your facebook account and attack you from multiple different directions using coordinated stalking. It is horrifying. Never use Facebook. They have law enforcement keyholes and will view messages and will send a stalker with inside knowledge of your life to people you love. They will also slander you using law cases and illegal arrests. They are mostly the knights of Columbus. It is disgusting. My statement is 1000% accurate. I have detailed account of how they operate.

      • Rick Whitaker

        December 15, 2023 at 7:53 pm

        rushton, when you said ” knights of columbus ” i agreed with you. christians are evil

    • Bob from Orlando

      December 17, 2023 at 6:59 pm

      I don’t care who they have sex with. But they should not be preaching or dictating whom anyone else can have it with either.

  • Jackie Thurlow

    December 14, 2023 at 12:04 pm

    Ziegler wants millions of dollars to go away? Wait a minute….exactly how much money does State Republican Party chairmen pay, and why????

    • Kevin David Calhoun

      December 14, 2023 at 4:49 pm

      120-125k a year

    • SG

      December 15, 2023 at 12:27 pm

      Try reading the article, they claim that $2 million never happened. If you turn of CNN for an hour, your brain will normalize.
      PS Its none of anyone’s business what happens in their bedroom if consensual. Sarasota has more conservatives than liberals, thats why I moved her after retiring from Army aviation

      • john A.

        December 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

        the PARTY said the $2M demand happened.
        Sure, what happens in one’s bedroom should be private. But she is a very prominent anti-gay activist who is secretly having gay sex It is pure hypocrisy.

        • Rick Whitaker

          December 15, 2023 at 7:58 pm

          john a., tell that to SG, he don’t understand hypocrisy

      • Rick Whitaker

        December 15, 2023 at 7:56 pm

        sg, i don’t think turning off fox would help you, you’re too far gone. where you going to move when sarasota turns blue?

    • Funny Thing 2050

      December 15, 2023 at 7:24 pm

      Good question! I was wondering the same thing.

  • It's Complicated

    December 14, 2023 at 12:10 pm

    Come on RPOF – find your cojones and fire this guy. He doesn’t deserve a buyout, either, because it is “for cause.” His, and his wife’s, conduct has tainted their roles and the public trust, and they should both be kicked to the curb, period.

    • Rick Whitaker

      December 16, 2023 at 5:27 pm

      it’s complicated, I disagree. the zieglers need to stay in office to be a beacon for voters to focus on so they will be more likely to vote dem. voting dem is the most important thing in the country right now. anyway, florida already looks so bad that a new RPOF is going to rehabilitate their reputation.

  • Linwood Wright

    December 14, 2023 at 12:15 pm

    I say we just put him in prison instead.

  • PeterH

    December 14, 2023 at 12:48 pm

    “If you end my grift in my current management position than I want a golden parachute!”

    Typical Republican

    Republicans are America’s biggest problem!
    Vote all Republicans out of office!

  • PeterH

    December 14, 2023 at 12:55 pm

    “If you’re embarrassed by the rape allegation….. a $2 million dollar golden parachute will assist in my retirement!”

    …… keep in mind that I’m a best friend to Senator Rick Scott, Senator Marco Rubio and Governor Ron DeSantis.

  • Benni

    December 14, 2023 at 2:35 pm

    Why not Indict him for bribery? Or has that become part of the GOP’s platform? What a bunch of hypocritical hoodlums are Fl GOP-ers!!

    • Harry

      December 14, 2023 at 10:07 pm


  • Josh Green

    December 14, 2023 at 3:02 pm

    He raped somebody, and now he wants a million dollar payday to quit his job? GTFO. Dude needs to be behind bars.

    • Henry Catchum

      December 14, 2023 at 8:23 pm

      No he was accused of rape. An accusation is not proof of guilt.

      • Rick Whitaker

        December 16, 2023 at 11:57 am

        henry, i am for letting ziegler fester and stink up the gop. so, with that in mind, i agree with you.

  • Dont Say FLA

    December 14, 2023 at 3:34 pm

    Exactly how many Taylor Swift tickets does this Florida GOP scumbag intend to buy and trade with little girls for sexual favors?

    If it’s just one pair of tickets, let’s get it done so maybe he will kill himself like Rhonda’s other scumbag Florida GOP buddy that had Taylor Swift tickets and thing for 17yo boobies.

  • Free Fire

    December 14, 2023 at 3:51 pm

    They should fire his ass. That’s free.

    • Rick Whitaker

      December 15, 2023 at 8:00 pm

      free fire, gop rewards degenerates,they don’t fire them

  • So Sad

    December 14, 2023 at 4:05 pm

    Typical GOPer… Fight, Deny, Blame others, Refuse to accept any responsibility. Heck the leader of the repubs has been CONVICTED OF RAPE and it hasn’t stopped him from running for President and how many people are supporting him? The raping of women is acceptable in our society today and then telling them they must have that baby.

    • Rick Whitaker

      December 16, 2023 at 2:50 pm

      so sad, maga cultist’ are what they are, cultist.

  • Richard Russell

    December 14, 2023 at 4:25 pm

    Two Million Dollars?? WTF is he serious? Maybe he should be held financially liable to the party for his hypocrisy and disgusting activities, irrespective of the charge of rape against him!

  • Dr. Franklin Waters

    December 14, 2023 at 4:36 pm

    If any Republican apologists are reading this, this story RIGHT here is a perfect encapsulation of why so many of us firmly know and understand why the GOP is a such a disgusting & even dangerous disgrace. Just try and defend this one.

    • Sean O’Brien

      December 15, 2023 at 7:43 am

      There is no defending this. And the majority of Rs won’t.

      • Rick Whitaker

        December 15, 2023 at 8:02 pm

        sean o’brien , don’t bet on it

  • Kevin David Calhoun

    December 14, 2023 at 4:45 pm

    Asking for money is disgusting. You embarrassed the party and should go away asap! We cannot afford to go into 2024, an election year with Zigeler leading the party!

    • Rick Whitaker

      December 15, 2023 at 8:04 pm

      dangerous florida christians, your name says it all. i despise religions like christianity

  • Charles Diaz

    December 14, 2023 at 7:14 pm

    No buyouts for Reprobates.

  • Peter Maxqell

    December 14, 2023 at 9:03 pm

    CZ, you’re a pervert!

  • Liam Parker

    December 15, 2023 at 12:45 am

    If this is a moral issue, he and his wife are both guilty of adultery for a sexual relationship outside of marriage. Adultery is sex outside of marriage. Marriage is between a man and women. Homosexuals are guilty of adultery, so does that mean the GOP should kick them out also? If the accuser lied to the police, will she be prosecuted for perjury?

  • CK Kennedy

    December 15, 2023 at 5:48 am

    I know the “moral hypocrisy” has been beaten to death, but one point that seems to going unsaid…. apparently Bridget is completely fine (150% behind her hubby as Christian claims) with her husband banging random women around town. I think it’s because she’ll have to go back to selling purses if she doesn’t have the teet of the GOP grift machine from which to suckle. (cringe)

  • MJ

    December 15, 2023 at 7:47 am

    IMHO, There has been no conviction or proof he raped anyone. A her said/she said situation for now. Until proof is provided & charges levied, I would suggest the RPOF wait. If removed from his position over an allegation that comes back false or inconclusive, that will set the RPOF up for a civil lawsuit for more than 2 mill. Those calling for removal prior to conviction are insinuating his guilt before being proven. He has a right to defend himself.

    • Rick Whitaker

      December 15, 2023 at 8:06 pm

      mj, what about the court of public opinion?

  • Jim

    December 15, 2023 at 9:03 am

    Calling “Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Act” the “Don’t Say Gay” bill is a heads up on the bias of this article. Our public school children don’t need LGBTQ indictrination in “try it to see if you like it”. Just reading, writing and arithmetic will do just fine.

    • Rick Whitaker

      December 15, 2023 at 8:08 pm

      jim, you sound like a christian caveman. normal people don’t want white christian nationalist domination

    • Mark miller

      December 16, 2023 at 8:23 am

      When your parents told you as a boy not to look at playboy magazines, your curiosity got the best of you. Let these kids know about the difference in people, educate the correct way and maybe they will understand better. Don’t come with you hypocrite ideas.

  • Mark miller

    December 16, 2023 at 8:20 am

    Florida has been under republicans control for many years, insurance crisis, over crowded , infrastructure that is not up to the growth that comes here. Too many right wing nut jobs pushing religious beliefs on people and then doing the opposite. Sad I know us dems are not perfect but definitely better than these nut jobs.

Comments are closed.


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