Michael Ertel, the Secretary of State for Florida, resigned suddenly on Thursday after photos surfaced of him wearing blackface as part of a Halloween costume in 2005.
As you may recall, 2005 is the year that Hurricane Katrina virtually wiped out New Orleans.
According to the Tallahassee Democrat, Ertel dressed up as a “Katrina victim” for a private Halloween party later that year.
Photos obtained by the Democrat show him wearing blackface, a Saints bandana, earrings, and fake breasts.
Ertel’s costume decision was a foolish one under any circumstances and surely a decision he will regret for the rest of his life.
By all accounts, his political career is now over, even though he was once considered a rising star in the party.
Once a Rising Star
Ertel first came on to the political scene in February of 2005.
At that time, he was appointed the Seminole County Supervisor of Elections by then-Governor Jeb Bush.
He held that position with distinction through the last election.
After Gov. Ron DeSantis won his controversial election, he named Ertel as Secretary of State.
But Ertel’s time in office lasted all of 16 days before the photos surfaced.
For his part, he did not even try to defend his actions, telling the press, “There’s nothing I can say.”
He merely confirmed that the photos were of himself and that he would resign, effective immediately.
DeSantis’ office confirmed Thursday that Ertel’s resignation had been accepted.
“It’s unfortunate. I think he’s done a lot of good work,” DeSantis said. “I don’t want to get mired into kind of side controversies, and so I felt it was best to just accept the resignation and move on.”
Ertel will be replaced by Department of State Chief of Staff Jennifer Kennedy, who will serve as interim Secretary of State.