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Florida Roundup: Florida GOP chair says its priorities 'right in line' with Florida voters

In this photo taken April 14, 2017, Christian Ziegler, 33, a marketing professional from Sarasota, Fla. President Donald Trump’s voters are showing they can be a forgiving lot, up to a point. The president’s recent shifts in position on a series of big foreign policy issues have got his supporters debating whether the policy reversals are worth a mere shrug of the shoulders or are a cause for bigger concern. (AP Photo/Tamara Lush)
Tamara Lush/AP
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AP
In this photo taken April 14, 2017, Christian Ziegler, 33, a marketing professional from Sarasota, Fla. President Donald Trump’s voters are showing they can be a forgiving lot, up to a point. The president’s recent shifts in position on a series of big foreign policy issues have got his supporters debating whether the policy reversals are worth a mere shrug of the shoulders or are a cause for bigger concern. (AP Photo/Tamara Lush)

The new chair of the Republican Party of Florida told the Florida Roundup on Friday that last November’s landslide victory served as a mandate for Gov. Ron DeSantis and the GOP to continue its conservative agenda.

In the interview, Christian Ziegler also said the Republican party would focus its attention on local elections, including school, county commission and city councils.

“We're going to actually now expand our successful efforts,” he said noting that the state party had “not engaged” in local contests “as aggressively as we should have in the past.”

“All we're saying is let's inform the voters more, especially in these local races, when people may not know who their city mayor is or county commissioner is or a school board member is,” he told the Florida Roundup, a statewide public affairs show jointly produced and hosted by NPR affiliates in Jacksonville (WJCT) and in South Florida (WLRN).

Ziegler was elected GOP chairman last month to succeed outgoing Chairman Joe Gruters, a state senator from Sarasota who did not seek another term as party leader.

His selection comes at a time when the GOP has further cemented its dominance of Florida politics following the 2022 elections, winning races for governor, U.S. senator and all three state Cabinet posts and expanding majorities in the Legislature and congressional delegation.

Ziegler told the Florida Roundup that Democrats are out of touch with the majority of Floridians on a number of issues, including the contentious abortion issue.

“The Republican Party, we believe in protecting innocent life,” he said. “The Democrats are very extreme on this issue.”

State Republicans in Tallahassee this week proposed measures that seek to prevent abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.

The bills (SB 300 and HB 7), filed by Sen. Erin Grall, R-Vero Beach, and Rep. Jenna Persons-Mulicka, R-Fort Myers, came after the Republican-controlled Legislature last year passed a ban on abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

In his interview with the Florida Roundup, Ziegler again said the GOP’s dominance in elections is proof that voters believe in their governing policies.

“When you look at the state of Florida, it's very difficult for anyone in the state to say that Floridians disagree with the priorities and the execution being done in Tallahassee and the focus being put out in the vision being put out by our governor,” he said.

He added: “Really the truest, most pure poll are Election Day results. So I think our priorities are right in line. We need to continue to have bold, conservative, aggressive leadership. And that's what you're going to see in Florida.”

During his interview with the Florida Roundup, Ziegler commented on a statement about abortion made by former Virginia Governor Ralph Northam in 2019. Reuters found that the governor's statement was taken out of context. Find the full fact check here.

News Service of Florida contributed to this story.

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