Sources: Christian Ziegler wants multimillion-dollar buyout to step down as Florida GOP Chair

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.

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