Fla. Democratic Party chair resigns over sexual behavior

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Florida Democrat Party chairman resigned Friday after a report of anonymous allegations of sexually inappropriate behavior, a decision he made after four of his party's candidates for governor said he should step down.

The party posted on Twitter a statement from Stephen Bittel, who had held the position since January.

"When my personal situation becomes distracting to our core mission of electing Democrats and making Florida better, it is time for me to step aside," Bittel said. "I apologize for all who have felt uncomfortable during my tenure at the Democratic Party."

Florida Democrats ✔@FlaDems

 

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Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham and businessman Chris King quickly called on Bittel to resign in response to a Politico report quoting women it did not identify saying Bittel would leer at them, make comments about their appearances or breasts, and exhibit other behavior that made them uncomfortable. He also had a breast-shaped stress ball in his office.

None of the women said he groped or assaulted them.

Bittel is a wealthy real estate developer who was a big money donor to the party. He was elected to lead the state party following an election year that saw Florida support President Trump, a Republican.

© 2017 Associated Press


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