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The Latest: Florida gov: Elections chief regrets blackface

January 24, 2019
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FILE- In this Jan. 30, 2013 file photo, Michael Ertel speaks during a panel discussion on election problems at a pre-legislative news conference in Tallahassee, Fla. Ertel, 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, Jan. 24, 2019, just hours after he testified about election lawsuits before a state legislative committee. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File)
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FILE- In this Jan. 30, 2013 file photo, Michael Ertel speaks during a panel discussion on election problems at a pre-legislative news conference in Tallahassee, Fla. Ertel, 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, Jan. 24, 2019, just hours after he testified about election lawsuits before a state legislative committee. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — The Latest on Florida’s secretary of state resigning after photos of him in blackface surfaced (all times local):

6 p.m.

Florida’s new governor says he thought it best to accept his secretary of state’s resignation “and move on” after old photos of the elections chief in blackface surfaced.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said Thursday afternoon that he thinks Secretary of State Michael Ertel regrets his actions but he wants state officials “to be able to lead and not have these things swirling around them.”

Ertel resigned Thursday after a newspaper obtained photos of him wearing blackface while dressed as a Hurricane Katrina victim at a 2005 Halloween party.

DeSantis appointed Ertel secretary of state last month and says he thinks Ertel has “done a lot of good work.”

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3:30 p.m.

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.

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