TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida's GOP chairman has been stripped of everything but his title following a meeting of top Republicans this weekend. Even so, Christian Ziegler, who faces allegations of sexual assault, technically remains head of the state party though it's not likely for much longer.
The executive board of Florida's Republican Party did everything Sunday it could to oust its embattled leader. Members unanimously approved a censure, demanding resignation — suspension of Ziegler's powers as chair — and a reduction of his salary to one dollar.
Ziegler has denied all wrongdoing, and due to party rules, gets to keep his title for now. But his resistance to resignation continues to frustrate colleagues. They plan to take the final step of formally removing him next month at a Jan. 8 meeting in Tallahassee.
The full RPOF executive committee plans to consider a vote to remove Ziegler and then call a new election for a replacement.
Those on the committee expected Ziegler's days were numbered.
"I think Christian should read the room, and I think there's no way out here," Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, said. "I don't see the purpose of putting everybody through this. He's not getting paid. Why would he continue this? I don't understand the rationale."
Florida Democrats have also been urging Ziegler's resignation since at least Dec. 1. Members started an online petition to punctuate their call, which has gained hundreds of signatures. In a Monday statement, a party spokesperson said the following:
"Christian Ziegler is Chairman of the Florida GOP in name only and his days as the disgraced leader of the RPOF are numbered. He no longer has the authority to lead the Republican Party of Florida or serve in any position of public trust.
Despite being stripped of his powers and salary, he still refuses to resign.
The petition demanding his resignation has received over 2,100 signatures. It’s past time for Christian Ziegler to step aside."