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Mike Ertel resigns as Florida secretary of state after blackface photos surface

Mike Ertel resigns as Florida secretary of state after blackface photos surface

Florida's Secretary of State Michael Ertel has resigned after photos emerged of him in blackface dressed as a victim of Hurricane Katrina.

The Tallahassee Democrat, a newspaper based in Florida's capital, obtained photos of Ertel, who is white, in blackface and wearing lipstick, earrings, a bandana and a T-shirt that had "Katrina Victim" written on it during a private Halloween event 13 years ago. "I care what Florida voters think".

During his campaign for governor, DeSantis came under fire from Democrats who said he made racially divisive comments about Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum.

Watch the clip above, via Central Florida News 13. "I've got to have an administration that's going to be focused on what matters to Floridians, and I don't want to get mired into kind of side-controversies". Earlier in the day, while speaking at a news conference on hurricane relief, DeSantis reportedly said the situation was "unfortunate" because Ertel had "done a lot of good work".

Image FL. Secretary of State Resigns After
Florida Secretary of State Resigns After Blackface Photos as 'Katrina Victim' Costume Surface, Gov DeSantis Accepts Resignation

The northwest Florida Republican said Thursday in a text message that he "strongly" urged DeSantis hire Ertel but noted he had support from members of both parties.

"It has been an honor to serve you and the voters of Florida", the resignation letter stated, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Ertel also won recognition from the International Electoral Awards for "building voter trust", according to his official biography. Ertel recommended the governor take action against the Democratic official, contending that she had violated state election laws and was incompetent.

But Ertel did play a role in DeSantis' decision to suspend Palm Beach County supervisor of elections Susan Bucher last week. He was first appointed as Seminole County Supervisor of Elections by former Gov. Jeb Bush and was re-elected four times. I felt it was best to accept the resignation and move on.

Hours before his resignation, Ertel gave a presentation to the House Oversight, Transparency and Public Management Subcommittee in Washington, D.C. He explained that there wasn't election interference in 2018, but protecting the system from being hacked would remain a priority of his office. "This, so far as in my power, they, and all others, shall have".

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