Florida Secretary Of State Resigns After Blackface Photos Surface

Former Florida Secretary of State Michael Ertel
(image via FL Dept of State)

Florida’s newly-appointed Secretary of State, Michael Ertel, has resigned on his 16th day in office after photos surfaced of him posing as a Hurricane Katrina victim in blackface, lipstick and fake breasts at a Halloween party some years ago.

According to The Tallahasssee Democrat, the pics were shown to Gov. Ron DeSantis this morning.

By 2pm, Ertel had tendered his resignation.

“I am submitting my resignation as Florida secretary of state effective immediately,” he wrote in an email. “It has been an honor to serve you and the voters of Florida.”

The Governor’s Office issue a statement: “The governor accepted Secretary Ertel’s resignation.”

“It’s unfortunate. He’s done a lot of good work,” DeSantis said at an event later in the day.

DeSantis explained he accepted the resignation because “I don’t want to get mired in side controversies.”

The photo is apparently from a 2005 Halloween party, eight months into Ertel’s tenure as Seminole County supervisor of elections and just two months after Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans.

The Tallahassee Democrat calls the photos “the sole blemish on a seemingly spotless public career, highlighted by a record of increasing voter registration and making the elections office more accessible to the public.”