Florida school board votes for Moms for Liberty co-founder Bridget Ziegler to resign #Florida #school #board #votes #Moms #Liberty #cofounder #Bridget #Ziegler #resign

The Sarasota County, Florida, School Board passed a resolution Monday night calling for the resignation of board member Bridget Ziegler, the wife of state Republican Party chairman Christian Ziegler, who is under investigation of allegations of rape and sexual battery. 

The move, which passed on a 4-1 vote with Bridget Ziegler in opposition, is nonbinding, but it was a significant bipartisan showing against Ziegler, a high-profile conservative activist.

It is the latest development in a round of blowback to the investigation into Christian Ziegler, which was made public this month. Some board members expressed interest in sending a letter asking Gov. Ron DeSantis to remove her from office, but the board declined to vote on that matter.

Ziegler called the resolution “toothless” but spoke only sparingly ahead of the vote, which took place before the time for members of the public to speak, which was expected to last hours.

Bridget Ziegler, a co-founder of Moms for Liberty — a group that works to elect conservative women to school boards and pushes conservative policies in schools — has played a prominent role in Florida Republican politics in recent years, including having been endorsed in her re-election campaign by DeSantis.

“It is the distraction de jour in the long list of distractions that has kept the board drama-focused instead of student centric-focused,” said board member Tom Edwards, a Democrat, who suggested sending the letter to DeSantis.

Sarasota police are investigating allegations that Christian Ziegler raped a woman in early October in her Sarasota apartment, a politically explosive sex scandal that involves Bridget Ziegler even though she is not accused of any wrongdoing.

The Zieglers were planning on having a consensual sexual encounter with the alleged victim, whom the couple have known for 20 years. The woman tried to cancel once she was informed that Bridget would not be participating, but Christian still went to the woman’s apartment and then raped her, authorities allege. The details were contained in a search warrant affidavit that was first reported by the Florida Center for Government Accountability and shared with NBC News.

Sarasota police have not confirmed or denied the authenticity of the affidavit, which has been widely reported. 

Christian Ziegler contacted the woman via social media after the incident, and she told him it was “not okay” what happened, according to the affidavit. He responded by saying, “Oh. That’s not good. You are my friend. Known ya for like twenty years now. Lol.”

Ziegler has not been formally charged and has maintained his innocence, but there have continued to be widespread calls for him to resign as chairman of the Florida GOP, including from DeSantis, Sen. Rick Scott and all of the state’s Republican legislative leaders. 

The Republican Party of Florida leadership is holding an emergency meeting this Sunday in Orlando to consider disciplinary actions that could include taking away Ziegler’s salary and reducing his role in the party. They can not remove Ziegler from his role as chairman at the meeting.

Bridget Ziegler is not accused of any wrongdoing, but she has still faced backlash, including calls for her to resign from the school board. She already resigned from her as vice president of school board programs at the Leadership Institute, an organization that teaches conservatives to run for office.

Ziegler has also faced criticism from those who have said she is a hypocrite because she has advocated a far-right agenda that has included being publicly against the LGBTQ community — including helping craft legislation that banned the discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity in classrooms up until third grade. Supporters said the bill was about parental empowerment, while opponents dubbed it “Don’t Say Gay.”

During the public comment period at Tuesday’s school board meeting, attendee Joyce Peralta said she didn’t care what consensual sexual activities Bridget Ziegler had engaged in.

“I do care,” she added, “about the campaign of hate that Bridget was happy to lead as she trained school board candidates nationwide.”

#Florida #school #board #votes #Moms #Liberty #cofounder #Bridget #Ziegler #resign

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