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Florida Secretary of State Michael Ertel resigns after photos emerge of him wearing a blackface

Posted: 3:46 PM, Jan 24, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-24 15:46:05-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida's top elections official has abruptly resigned after a newspaper obtained pictures of him in blackface posing as a Hurricane Katrina victim.

Secretary of State Michael Ertel resigned Thursday afternoon just hours after he testified about election lawsuits before a state legislative committee.

The Tallahassee Democrat obtained pictures taken at a Halloween party 14 years ago that show Ertel dressed in blackface. The photos were taken two months after the deadly storm ravaged the Gulf Coast region.

Ertel had been the Seminole County supervisor of elections and was picked by new Gov. Ron DeSantis to take over the department that oversees elections.

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

Here is resignation he sent to DeSantis pic.twitter.com/47its5MbYM

— Matt Dixon (@Mdixon55) January 24, 2019

The administration clearly did not see this coming. Ertel this morning gave a presentation in front of a Florida House committee

— Matt Dixon (@Mdixon55) January 24, 2019