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Florida Secretary of State resigns after blackface photos surface

Posted at 6:42 AM, Jan 25, 2019

Florida Secretary of State Michael Ertel resigned Thursday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' office confirmed, on the same day that photos of him in blackface at a party nearly 15 years ago were publicly revealed.

"I am submitting my resignation as Florida Secretary of State effective immediately," Ertel said in an email sent to DeSantis Thursday afternoon, provided by the DeSantis' office to CNN. "It has been an honor to serve you and the voters of Florida."

DeSantis' press office said in an email to CNN that "the governor accepted Secretary Ertel's resignation."

Ertel's resignation comes in conjunction with the release of photos of him in blackface at a private Halloween party in 2005, obtained by the Tallahassee Democrat .

The photos show Ertel -- who is white -- in blackface, wearing red lipstick, a New Orleans Saints bandana, fake breasts and large earrings.

Ertel confirmed to the Democrat that the photos were of him, adding, "there's nothing I can say."

DeSantis' office saw the photos obtained by the Democrat for the first time Thursday morning, and announced that DeSantis accepted Ertel's resignation hours later, the paper reported.

DeSantis was sworn in earlier this month, with Ertel's tenure lasting just under a month.

In 2005, Ertel served as Seminole County supervisor of elections. That same year, Hurricane Katrina slammed the southeast coast, causing more than 1,800 deaths, catastrophic flooding and billions of dollars in damage centered in New Orleans.

Thousands of storm evacuees took shelter at the Louisiana Superdome, where the New Orleans Saints play.

Ertel could not be immediately reached for comment.


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