Florida’s Republican Party found itself roiled on Thursday after the police said they were investigating an accusation made two months ago that the party’s chairman had engaged in sexual battery.
The chairman, Christian Ziegler, was elected to the post this year as top Florida Republicans were fretting over whether to support Gov. Ron DeSantis or former President Donald J. Trump for their party’s 2024 nomination. Mr. Ziegler was seen as the choice of Mr. Trump’s allies.
No charges have been filed against Mr. Ziegler, who denied wrongdoing through his lawyer, Derek Byrd.
“We are confident that once the police investigation is concluded, that no charges will be filed and Mr. Ziegler will be completely exonerated,” Mr. Byrd said in a statement. Mr. Ziegler responded to a request for comment by sending the same statement from his lawyer.
Details of the accusation were scant, but a spokeswoman for the Police Department in Sarasota confirmed an “active investigation” involving Mr. Ziegler.
In response to requests for the sexual battery incident report, the police released a heavily redacted, 12-page document from Oct. 4 with names, addresses, identifying information and most other details blacked out. Unredacted in the report are two mentions of the word “raped,” and a reference to someone reporting being “sexually battered” at home on Oct. 2.
Mr. Byrd said his client, who lives in Sarasota and used to be a Sarasota County commissioner, “has been fully cooperative” with the police.
“We are shocked and disappointed to hear of the reports” concerning Mr. Ziegler, the Republican Party of Sarasota County said in a statement. “The Republican Party takes all such allegations of potential criminal conduct very seriously and will fully cooperate with investigators.”
The Florida Democratic Party called on Mr. Ziegler to step down as G.O.P. chairman.
“Christian Ziegler can’t possibly continue to lead the Florida G.O.P. under these conditions,” Nikki Fried, the Democratic Party chairwoman, said in a statement.
The investigation was first reported by the Florida Center for Government Accountability, which describes itself as a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization..
Mr. Ziegler’s wife, Bridget Ziegler, is an elected member of the Sarasota County School Board and a founder of the right-wing national group Moms for Liberty, though she is no longer one of the organization’s officers.
The Zieglers are considered a powerful political couple in Florida, especially in the Sarasota area, which has become a hotbed of conservative activism since the end of the Trump administration. Moms for Liberty campaigned closely with Mr. DeSantis last year.
Once a hotly contested swing state, Florida now votes more reliably Republican.
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