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Blackface photo leaked out of revenge, says former Florida elections chief

“Because while public revenge may be sweet for them, my private redemption, new family, and blessed life have been sweeter,” Michael Ertel wrote in a Facebook post.
Michael Ertel resigned from his job as Florida Secretary of State on Thursday after photos emerged of him at a 2005 Halloween party, two months after he was elected Supervisor of Elections in Seminole County. In black face, he was dressed as a Hurricane Katrina victim. [AP/Florida's Governor's Office]
Published Feb. 4

Florida’s former top elections official on Sunday apologized for dressing in blackface as a Hurricane Katrina victim, more than a week after he resigned when photos of his Halloween costume were made public.

Michael Ertel, who was Florida’s Secretary of State for less than three weeks, said in a personal Facebook post that what he did in 2005 was stupid and he is a better man than he was 14 years ago.

“For those who have not received a personal apology yet — I’m sorry,” he wrote.

RELATED COVERAGE: Secretary of State Michael Ertel resigns after blackface photos

Ertel also said that someone made the photos public out of revenge. He didn’t elaborate. The Tallahassee Democrat first published the pictures.

“Because while public revenge may be sweet for them, my private redemption, new family, and blessed life have been sweeter,” Ertel wrote. “Regardless of the circumstances which ended my public role, I’m a better private citizen for having served my fellow countrymen, first in the military, then in elected office and most recently as Secretary of State.”

Ertel didn’t respond to a phone call seeking comment.

Before being appointed Florida’s top elections official by Gov. Ron DeSantis, he was the elections supervisor in Seminole County, a suburb of Orlando.

DeSantis announced last week that Circuit Judge Laurel Lee would replace Ertel.

Currently, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is under pressure to resign after his medical school yearbook page was made public, showing a person in blackface and a person in Klan regalia.

Northam said he wasn’t either person in the photo.

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