Florida GOP elects Evan Power as new state Chair

EvanPower
Power succeeds the embattled Christian Ziegler, who was removed as Chair earlier Monday.

After booting Christian Ziegler as Chair of the Republican Party of Florida, the executive committee has named Evan Power as his successor.

Power said he wanted to pull the party back together after a headline-grabbing scandal largely paralyzed the party.

“I think we’re ready to move forward. It’s good to have this chapter behind us,” Power told reporters after the meeting. “You know, the Republican Party of Florida is bigger than one person.”

Power beat out National Committeeman Peter Feaman for the role in a 135-65 vote. Indian River Republican Chair John Vacchiano also ran for the post. All three candidates could be spotted lobbying voters during check-in at the Tallahassee Conference Center, well before a vote took place to formally remove Ziegler.

“The number one job of the party chairman is to fundraise,” he said. “You can’t do anything in the party without voting.”

Notably, this marks Power’s second run for state Chair in the last year. He ran against Ziegler and lost a close vote in February. Power won election as Vice Chair immediately after that vote, a recommendation from Ziegler after the divisive election.

He told the press that the experience of running recently likely helped with this quickly arranged vote. More important, he said it informed him about the priorities and desires for party leaders across Florida.

“It has been a journey and I have traveled 70,000 miles across the state,” he said. “It only makes me a better chairman.”

Now, it falls on Power to restart fundraising, which largely ceased as officials dealt with Ziegler’s scandal.

Power previously served as the Chair of Chairs for the state party. He’s also chaired the Leon County Republican Executive Committee since 2014.

His role as the second-highest ranking official within the party put him in a place to act as Chair over the past month as Zieger faced a criminal investigation for rape and video voyeurism. The state party’s executive board in December voted to censure and sideline Ziegler amid the scandal.

Of note, Power called both the December meeting of the executive board in Orlando and a Monday meeting of the executive committee in Tallahassee. Ziegler at the Orlando meeting questioned if Power had the legal authority to do so, and brought a legal opinion saying as much. That could signal litigation in the future.

But Power’s election at least for now puts the scandal behind the party as an institution. Both Feaman and Power ran on a promise to restore organizing and fundraising ability.

Feaman had argued a vote for new leadership should have been delayed until a regular meeting in February. But he also came prepared for a vote.

In weeks leading up to the vote, Power announced the support of a number of party leaders, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and former Republican Party of Florida Chairs Joe Gruters and Blaise Ingoglia.

Ingoglia said after the meeting he would make himself available as a resource to Power as he takes over the party mid-election cycle.

Several political leaders voiced confidence. “He’s been a perfect Leon Republican Chair,” said U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn.

Notably, Power’s ascension from Vice Chair also opens that position up. Executive committee members like Mike Thompson, Lee County Republican Chairman, have already announced plans to run for that job. That will be decided at a Feb. 10 meeting in Wesley Chapel.

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].


9 comments

  • Eugene Krabs

    January 8, 2024 at 3:16 pm

    Well lets all hope Power learned from what got Ziegler $hit-Canned and keeps his weiner in his pants. Eugene

  • Dont Say FLA

    January 8, 2024 at 5:36 pm

    There’s a new sheriff in town? Great! Now get to work and rescind Rhonda’s exemptions from Resign to Run and Sunshine laws. Please free us all from 2 more years of the bitter little guy. raging because it’s all y’all’s faults that he lost.

  • Michael K

    January 8, 2024 at 9:22 pm

    What’s gonna happen to moms for three ways?

  • What’s good for the gander is good for the goose!

    January 8, 2024 at 10:03 pm

    Now the governor needs to explain why Ziegler (“Mrs.”) remains on the school board and tourism oversight board.

    • Linwood Wright

      January 9, 2024 at 1:07 pm

      She’s probably blowing him.

  • Diane roberts

    January 8, 2024 at 11:16 pm

    Why do Republicans hate Donald Trump so much that they are willing to lose the next election? Desantis should be trumps Vice President. Trump might not serve out his term and would not run again so Desantis would be there to take over. Trump and Desantis would make a great team.

    • Dont Say FLA

      January 9, 2024 at 7:23 am

      You might be confused, The people who do like Donald Trump, they are Republicans.

      But i know, i know.. “Not all Republicans” Liz Cheney and Ken Zinger don’t like him.

      It could be something about rampant corruption, with Trump’s presidency being a 4-year get rich quick scheme for the Trump family.

      Or maybe it was that attempted coup thing that Liz and Ken don’t like.

  • Chung

    January 9, 2024 at 12:01 am

    Trump has declared Florida politicians impotent to his depraved unamerican shenanigans.

    Get Russian money out of our state politics and clean this god-damned swamp up.

    The last thing we need is more geriatrics making decisions for years they will be dead for.

    This can still be God’s waiting room with few more pats on the head a few more spoonfuls of STFU.

    Thet came for climate. Nobody has to listen to their ignorant 1950’s education whining.

  • Dr. Franklin Waters

    January 9, 2024 at 12:20 pm

    Now put that rapist Christian Zeigler in prison.
    His wife can start an OnlyFans account if they need money.

Comments are closed.


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