SARASOTA, FLORIDA — Christian Ziegler, fresh off a political win as the new Chair of the Republican Party of Florida, has excitement in his voice as he speaks about the future of the Republican Party, the direction of Florida and his fighting spirit.
With extensive campaign experience working at the federal, state and local levels, Ziegler likes winning elections. But as a true grassroots guy, he’s traveled to every county in the state of Florida to speak with local residents. “I’ve knocked on doors all over the state of Florida,” Ziegler told The Florida Standard.
Not a big fan of VIP cocktail receptions, Ziegler says he hates wearing a suit and focuses on leading from the ground. He says he enjoys the mentality of grinding it out at the grassroots level and leading by example, “showing the grassroots that I’m just like them,” said Ziegler.
The Sarasota Republican says he’s ready to lead the state with conservative values and principles. Ziegler is a firm believer in limited government, fewer taxes, individual freedom and responsibility, free enterprise, and family values.
“I'm a fighter, and I like winning elections. I like going after the left and exposing them and being aggressive,” Ziegler told The Florida Standard. “We’ve had some great chairmen in the past, but my goal is to be the most aggressive, conservative, hard-working chairman in our state’s history.”
ALL ABOUT FAMILY
A dad of three girls, Christian Ziegler says his kids are what motivates him every single day. He says that Democrats are becoming more dangerous in their strategy to rip the country apart by indoctrinating children with critical race theory and gender ideology. “They are literally advocating for cutting body parts off children who are ten years old,” Ziegler tells The Florida Standard.
“I’m in a role right now where I can have an immediate impact on the entire state – a state I plan on living in for the rest of my life, and I’m going to leverage that for good,” Ziegler says.
A FIREBRAND WIFE
Christian Ziegler’s wife, Bridget, has regularly appeared on conservative cable news outlets emphasizing the dangers of critical race theory in the classroom. She was among a slate of candidates endorsed by Governor DeSantis in his statewide push to help elect more conservative school board members who believe in protecting parental rights in education.
Shortly after her election to a third term on Sarasota County’s School Board, Bridget Ziegler was tapped to direct the Leadership Institute’s school board program. The organization trains conservative school board candidates nationwide, online and in person, through its school board leadership program.
Bridget leads the national team from Sarasota for Morton Blackwell, the president and founder of the Leadership Institute. Blackwell said Bridget is leading a big wave of school board training nationwide as parents take back their schools.
This week, in an apparent rebuff to Disney’s political position on Florida’s Parental Rights in Education law, Governor DeSantis appointed Bridget Ziegler to the board of the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District. The revamped special district is now responsible for governing the 40-square miles of land where Walt Disney World operates in central Florida.
REPUBLICANS MORE ENGAGED
A staunch conservative on social and fiscal policy, Christian Ziegler says he wants to make sure that Republicans continue the basics, like encouraging voter registration year-round and focusing on getting out to vote as we get closer to elections.
“Every Democrat must be challenged,” Ziegler says. “We must fight to take every Democrat out of office, and until they are out of office, our work is not done.” Expanding conservative success to the local level at school board races and county and city-level commission races is a priority for the new GOP leader.
Ziegler recently tweeted that legacy media is complaining that the governor’s agenda for the upcoming legislative session is too extreme for Florida and that Floridians don’t approve. But Ziegler posted a map highlighting 62 out of 67 Florida counties that “stand with (than against) @GovRonDeSantis!”
Cultural issues tackled head-on by the governor and the state legislature are what Ziegler says stand above anything else. “There’s nobody else in the country who is leading on these issues,” said Ziegler.
In Florida, the results of a red wave continue to have ripple effects with a more conservative trend in voter registration.
“Since DeSantis has been governor, we’ve had over a million net new voters, and out of that, only 17,000 have registered as Democrats – that’s about 3 percent of a net increase for the Democrats,” said Ziegler.
Another trend Ziegler is noticing is that many of the parents and community members speaking out at school board meetings are just regular people – often registered as Democrats or Independents. “Some are Republicans that never really engaged in politics before, but now you’re messing with their children, and that’s really activated them to take a stand,” said Ziegler.
THE CONSERVATIVE FIGHT
Speaking of Ron DeSantis’ major success in re-election, Ziegler said issues like water quality and how the governor handled COVID definitely won over independents and some Democrats across the state. But Ziegler says boldness on serious issues is what sets the governor apart.
“The biggest thing that separates the governor is that he’s willing to be bold, he’s willing to be aggressive and he’s willing to run towards the conservative fight,” said Ziegler.
Conservative politicians, according to Ziegler, often get elected and settle into office, listening to consultants and other bureaucrats who advise them to stay away from certain hot-button issues. Because they already have a base, Ziegler says they are often told they need to cater to the middle to win more people over.
But Ziegler says Ron DeSantis doesn’t operate that way. “What he’s done is gotten aggressive on these issues that are really conservative issues. But we’re finding out that there are a lot of Democrats and Independents that also believe in them.”
Cultural issues and protecting kids are what Ziegler sees as most important in driving the governor’s agenda.
“I think that’s going to be Ron DeSantis’ greatest legacy – tackling the cultural issues and fighting to protect our children.”
Ziegler says Florida has many Republican rock stars compared to other states, who are very vocal about conservative values and are instrumental in turning the tide in Florida.
“If you watch any of the national news channels, you’ll typically see someone from Florida. We have a deep bench of conservative leadership preparing for the next election cycle,” Ziegler said.