TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Republican Party of Florida (RPOF) ousted its top boss, Chairman Christian Ziegler, on Monday, marking the end of a weeks-long political standoff that stunned Florida's political community.

What You Need To Know

  • Florida GOP officials met Monday to cast votes on whether to oust its chairman, Christian Ziegler 

  • It comes amid a high-profile police investigation and allegations of sexual misconduct

  • Party officials elected Leon County Chairman Evan Power to assume the role immediately

Ziegler is under police investigation in Sarasota, where he is accused of sexual battery and video voyeurism. Party officials on Monday in Tallahassee voted overwhelmingly to oust Ziegler in light of the allegations, though Ziegler is maintaining innocence and is not currently facing criminal charges. He did not attend the meeting.

After the final vote, party officials elected Leon County Chairman Evan Power to assume the role immediately. He served previously as the party's Vice Chair.

"We can build that trust back because we proved that we're bigger than one person," said Power. "We moved on as fast and efficiently as we could, and now we're here in a new chapter with a new chairman."

By not resigning, Ziegler defied the will of party leaders and created a high-profile standoff. The Florida Cabinet, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, urged Ziegler to resign. Republican U.S. Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio urged the same. Many rank-and-file members of the RPOF, meanwhile, expressed similar opinions to Spectrum News. 

"We are spending time and energy on this meeting instead of focusing on the things that we need to focus on and that's simply because Christian Ziegler did not do the right thing and resign," said Republican Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, a former RPOF chairman.

The alleged victim in the case says she had previously been in a three-way sexual relationship with Ziegler and his wife, Bridget. According to the affidavit, she canceled a meet-up with the couple when she found out Bridget would not be there.

After the cancellation, the unnamed victim told police Ziegler allegedly showed up at her apartment, and that's when she says the attack happened, per the affidavit. Ziegler remains under investigation, accused of rape and sexual voyeurism. Through his attorney, though, Ziegler maintains that the October sexual encounter in question was consensual.

News of Zielger's termination pleased Florida Democrats, though many take issue with the weeks-long process. Senate Minority Leader Lauren Book is among the critics.

"This a man that sexually assaulted a woman on camera, and it's taken this long," Book told reporters. "As a survivor of sexual assault myself, it should've happened that day."

The accusation also has caused turmoil for Bridget Ziegler, an elected member of the Sarasota School Board, though she is not accused of any crime. The board voted to ask her to resign. She refused. Bridget is a co-founder of Mom's For Liberty, a conservative group campaigning to ban some school books with racial, gender, or sexual themes.