Resignation over photos puts pressure on Florida governor

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’s push to bridge partisan and racial divides following his narrow election last year is being tested by the revelation that one of his top hires had dressed up in blackface and mocked hurricane victims.

Secretary of State Mike Ertel abruptly resigned Thursday after a newspaper obtained photos of him dressed as a Hurricane Katrina victim at a 2005 party. The photo was taken several months after Ertel had become election supervisor for Seminole County.

Florida’s Republican governor said he accepted the resignation to avoid getting “mired” in controversies. Last year, DeSantis defeated Democrat Andrew Gillum in a bitter race with racial overtones.

Senate Democratic Leader Audrey Gibson called the photos “sickening” and said it raised questions about some of the DeSantis administration hires so far.

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