Out of stock: Cup kerfuffle latest political break from the Christian, Bridget Ziegler brand
Image from RPOD online shop.

Pervert mug.
'Politics is different than business in this way. Brands know it's smart business to burn the merchandise.'

The Republican Party of Florida as of Tuesday sold mugs displaying a Christian Ziegler quote: “Stand with parents, not perverts.” But after images went viral, the merchandise disappeared from the party’s online shop.

The change came weeks after a Spotify channel for the Leadership Institute deleted all episodes of its “Learn Right” podcast hosted by Bridget Ziegler.

Amid salacious headlines about threesomes, voyeurism and rape allegations, the first casualty in a Sarasota casualty has been the Zieglers’ brand.

“It’s simply a PR crisis for the party, which had to cut ties to the Zieglers because the negative publicity is too damaging,” said Carol Osborne, a University of South Florida professor and director of Zimmerman Advertising Program there. “Alleged rape, deviant sexual behavior, hypocrisy, lies and judging everyone but themselves. Not good optics.”

In some ways, it has been a rapid fall from grace.

As recently as November, the “Learn Right” podcast had been rebranded with Bridget Ziegler, then the think tank’s Director of School Board Programs, as the face of the product. The same month, Christian Ziegler, Republican Party of Florida Chair, posed alongside presidential candidates at the Sunshine Summit in Orlando as they signed qualifying papers to appear on the Florida ballot.

All that happened more than a month after a woman told police Christian Ziegler raped her in a Sarasota apartment. Bridget Ziegler had already confirmed to police she had been involved in a three-way sex encounter a year prior to that with the woman and her husband.

The unfolding scandal has led to significant political fallout for both Zieglers. While Bridget Ziegler has resisted calls to resign her School Board seat, she parted ways with the Leadership Institute within days of the scandal breaking in November.

The executive committee for the Republican Party of Florida convened in December in Orlando and voted to censure and sideline Christian Ziegler, and the full state committee plans to meet in Tallahassee Monday to formally remove him as state Chair.

To Osborne, the consequences have come too slowly.

“The RPOF moved too slowly on this. They both were on the naughty list before Christmas,” she said of the Zieglers. “Politics is different than business in this way. Brands know it’s smart business to burn the merchandise and contract of a fallen endorser or advertising pitchman within days. Politics, like sports, give more rope, which only lets the infection bake well into the organization’s brand.”

Ahead of that vote, every statewide elected official, led by Gov. Ron DeSantis, has called for Christian Ziegler to step down.

“He’s not a bad guy. He just did a real stupid thing and he’s going to have to suffer the consequences,” said Michael Thompson, Lee County Republican Executive Committee Chair, after the vote to strip Christian Ziegler of authority. “Every day, I drop my daughter off at school and I tell her, ‘Hey kiddo, make good choices.’ Why? Because they all have consequences. Unfortunately, he’s going to be faced with all of those.”

The biggest blow may be a financial one to the Ziegler brand from a marketing point of view. Christian Ziegler has worked as a political consultant in the digital marketing field, running the company Microtargeted Media since 2016.

Federal records show the company has provided services nationwide, including work in the 2022 election cycle for U.S. Reps. Vern Buchanan and Matt Gaetz, as well as the Donald Trump-supporting super PAC Make America Great Again Action. Notably, both Buchanan and Gaetz have called for Ziegler to resign as state Chair.


Peter Schorsch of Florida Politics contributed to this report.

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].


  • Michael K

    January 3, 2024 at 12:29 pm

    Simply a PR crisis? “Alleged rape, deviant sexual behavior, hypocrisy, lies and judging everyone but themselves. Not good optics.”

    Unless, of course, you’re a Republican and/or presidential frontrunner.

  • He’s such a fraud!

    January 3, 2024 at 1:04 pm

    The fact that DeSantis hasn’t canned Bridget from both the Sarasota school board and Central Florida tourism oversight district speaks volumes!

  • Dont Say FLA

    January 3, 2024 at 2:00 pm

    What’s the big deal? They didn’t write a book about what they did and put it in the library. They only did the stuff.

  • ScienceBLVR

    January 3, 2024 at 2:04 pm

    Well, at least he’s not a bad guy, Guess the Kinks called it
    Cause he’s oh, so good
    And he’s oh, so fine
    And he’s oh, so healthy
    In his body and his mind
    He’s a well-respected man about town
    Doing the best thing so conservatively.
    And he likes his own backyard
    And he likes his f&gs the best
    ‘Cause he’s better than the rest
    And his own sweat smells the best
    And he hopes to grab his father’s loot
    When Pater passes on

  • Objects

    January 4, 2024 at 9:03 am

    Just a stupid thing … alleged RAPE. That’s what the gop thinks of women. Trump was confirmed of RAPE. Women are just objects

  • JD

    January 4, 2024 at 5:34 pm

    Oh the irony of these shameless individuals in the FLGOPity Party is delicious.

    F@ck them! Make this known, put it on a billboard. They’re the scum they claim to want to root out.

    I want every little old lady that votes Republican to know it’s not some brown welfare queen eating fudge rounds stealing their tax monies, it’s these perverted assh0les having 3-ways while grifting the money from school vouchers by owning online schools / leadership academies or using SuperPAC funds to pay for “book deals”

    Nobody looked at DeSantis’ finances yet? Rumor is he’s now a f@cking multi-millionaire from before having a net worth of a few 100K? Is that true on the disclosure forms? How’s that square up?

    Mr. Ogles, can we get an investigation into that? Maybe collaborate with AG or Scott Maxwell. That could be a story. Or is that just rumor? You never know with the deniers in the #FLGOPityParty

  • Walt Scott

    January 5, 2024 at 2:36 pm

    ‘Oh what a tangled web we weave/When first we practice to deceive.’

Comments are closed.


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