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Moms for Liberty, GOP president’s three-way scandal clashes with party values

Florida GOP Chairman Christian Ziegler has been accused of rape by a woman involved in a three-way sexual relationship with Ziegler and his wife, Bridget Ziegler, co-founder of Moms for Liberty.
Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call and Joshua Lott/The Washington Post via Getty Images

  • GOP power couple Christian and Bridget Ziegler have been celebrated for their pro-family values.
  • But a recent rape allegation against Christian Ziegler undermines the principles they tout.
  • A search warrant revealed the couple had previously had a threesome with the woman.

The scathing details of a rape allegation against Christian Ziegler, the chairman of the Florida Republican Party who has become an influential figure in the modern conservative movement, conflict with pro-family Christian values ​​that Ziegler and his Moms for Liberty co-founder wife, Bridget, were congratulated.

A heavily redacted Sarasota Police Department report released by the Florida Center for Government Accountability revealed that Ziegler is the subject of an active criminal investigation involving a “rape” and “sexual assault allegation” that occurred on October 2 .

A search warrant affidavit obtained by the same watchdog group also showed that Ziegler and his wife, Bridget Ziegler, co-founder of the conservative “parental rights” group Moms for Liberty, had a three-way sexual relationship with the woman accusing him of Rape State GOP Chairman.

The affidavit said the woman and Bridget Ziegler both individually told police they had a three-way sexual relationship. with Christian Ziegler more than a year before the alleged October incident, according to the watchdog group.

The Zieglers planned to have sex again on Oct. 2, according to the affidavit, but the woman canceled the arrangement after learning that Bridget Ziegler would not be able to come, the Washington Post reported.

“Sorry, I was mostly for her,” she said in one message, according to the affidavit.

However, Christian Ziegler still showed up at the woman’s apartment and raped her, the woman told Sarasota police, according to the Post.

Bridget Ziegler’s apparent admission to having a three-way sexual relationship with another woman stands in stark contrast to her crusade. to implement Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law that was expanded to restrict classroom teaching on LGTBQ+ topics in grades K-12 – a bill that opponents say does not will only encourage a hostile environment for LGBTQ+ students.

Meanwhile, the rape allegation against Christian Ziegler is a profound departure from the “pro-family” values ​​for which his supporters have celebrated him.

Christian Ziegler’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent over the weekend.

A GOP power couple

Republican Party of Florida Chairman Christian Ziegler greets former President Donald Trump during the Republican Party of Florida Freedom Summit.
Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Republican colleagues praised the Zieglers for being “principled” conservatives as they quickly rose the political ladder in recent years.

A few years ago, Christian Ziegler was a little-known Sarasota County commissioner who ran on a platform emphasizing low local taxes and business-friendly values. Sen. Rick Scott, then governor of Florida, supported Ziegler, describing him as a “long-time principled conservative,” according to Florida Politics.

A spokesperson for Scott was unable to provide a statement prior to publication of this article.

In February 2023, Ziegler was elected chairman of the state Republican Party.

John Stemberger, an evangelical leader and president of Florida Family Action, which promotes conservative family values ​​and has led efforts against same-sex marriage, endorsed Ziegler for the position in December 2022.

“I wholeheartedly support Christian Ziegler. He is a strong, pro-life, pro-family social conservative,” Stemberger said in a statement that has since been removed from the Florida Family Action website. Business Insider viewed a cached version of the page.

A spokesperson for Florida Family Action did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent over the weekend.

A School Board Mom’s Rise

Likewise, Ziegler’s wife rose to prominence in 2021 for her role in co-founding Moms for Liberty, which began in Florida and has since gained national popularity. The organization has focused on shaping local school boards across the United States by supporting conservative candidates who oppose discussions of LGBTQ+ rights, gender and sexuality, critical race theory, and discrimination in schools.

The group has also led a nationwide crusade to ban books from school libraries that discuss LGBTQ+ topics. The organization’s influence has recently come under fire from Iowa voters, however, as only one of the 13 candidates supported by Moms for Liberty won a local election.

Bridget Ziegler left the organization at the end of 2021. Yet she was appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis to a seat on the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District Board, the special taxing district that runs Disney World. DeSantis also took the unusual step of endorsing her for re-election in 2022 to the Sarasota County School Board.

“We need (school board members) like Bridget Ziegler, we should have it in every county,” DeSantis said at a Sarasota Republican Party 2021 dinner.

However, recent allegations against Christian Ziegler have caused some Republicans to withdraw their support for the ruling couple from the Republican Party and question their adherence to conservative values.

DeSantis told reporters after his debate with California Governor Gavin Newsom that Christian Zeigler should resign from his post.

“I don’t see how he can continue this investigation given the seriousness of these situations, and so I think he should, I think he should step down,” the governor said.

Florida Rep. Spencer Roach told the Post the allegations are “an absolute blow to the Republican Party” and go against the principles the couple represented.

“They present themselves as models of conservative Christian family values, a prototype,” Roach told the Post. “And I think there is a very strong sense of betrayal, certainly within the Republican Party.”

The Zieglers did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent over the weekend.

Florida’s embattled GOP chairman said in a statement sent to state Republicans on Saturday that he would not resign over the allegations and that he and his wife were being targeted because they were “voices very strong policies,” reported the Associated Press.

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