Bridget Ziegler

CBS News

Moms for Liberty co-founder refuses calls to resign from Florida school board amid GOP sex scandal

Every other board member recommended Bridget Ziegler step down.


Katherine Huggins


Posted on Dec 13, 2023

The Sarasota County School Board on Tuesday recommended Bridget Ziegler step down from the panel due to her husband, Florida GOP chair Christian Ziegler, being under investigation for an alleged rape.

Politico reported that Ziegler knew her husband’s accuser and had been involved in a three-way sexual encounter previously. On the day of the alleged incident, the couple had attempted to schedule a tryst with the accuser, who backed out after learning Bridget Ziegler couldn’t attend.

Bridget Ziegler is a co-founder of the conservative parental rights group Moms for Liberty, which has advocated for anti-LGBTQ book and curriculum bans across the country and has served on the school board since her appointment by then-Florida Gov. Rick Scott in 2014.

“I am disappointed. I serve on another public board and this issue did not come up and we were able to forge ahead with business of the board,” Bridget Ziegler said at the board meeting calling for her ouster.

The vote was 4-1 in favor of recommending Ziegler resign, with the one vote against coming from Ziegler herself.

However, the panel does not have the authority to oust one of its members—that power is reserved for the governor.

Gov. Ron DeSantis has not weighed in on the situation with Bridget Ziegler, and she is not accused of doing anything illegal. DeSantis has, however, said Christian Ziegler should step down as head of Florida’s GOP.

“I don’t see how he can continue with that investigation ongoing, given the gravity of those situations,” DeSantis said. “So I think he should step aside, he should tend to that. He’s innocent until proven guilty, but we just can’t have a party chair that’s under that type of scrutiny.”

Republican board chair Karen Rose, who introduced the resolution against Ziegler, said she regrets “the necessity for this course of action, but given the intense media scrutiny locally and nationally, her continued presence on the Board would cause irreparably harmful distractions to our critical mission.”

Ahead of the meeting, Nick Machua with the LGBTQ+ advocacy group Equality Florida, accused Bridget Ziegler of hypocrisy, telling a crowd outside that “participation in same-sex activity is not shameful,” but that she “has done this while simultaneously denigrating our community and working overtime to instill policies that directly marginalize us.”

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*First Published: Dec 13, 2023, 9:44 am CST