Widely shared video shows 2018 DUI arrest of new state GOP chair Evan Power, disgraced Ziegler’s replacement

Evan Power
evan power
Evan Power being placed under arrest for DUI by a Tallahassee police officer. Photo: Tallahassee Police

By Noreen Marcus,

An old DUI arrest video is careening around cyberspace in an obvious effort to discredit Evan Power, the new Florida Republican Party chairman.

Posted on Jan. 19 to X, formerly Twitter, the police video shows an apparently drunk Power under questioning by a Tallahassee police officer after Power’s Infiniti hit a vehicle parked at Cherry Street and 8th Avenue in midtown Tallahassee.

The Tallahassee Democrat reported Power’s DUI arrest when it occurred the evening of Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018.

The case wasn’t resolved with a plea deal until a year ago. Even then, Power or his insurance company may have avoided paying for the damage he did to the other vehicle, the court record shows.

An off-duty policeman out walking his dog happened upon Power at the scene and a pair of officers responded, according to the arrest affidavit. The accident caused no injuries, and Power cooperated with police.

This is the second embarrassing, if less tumultuous, recent upset for the state’s ruling political party. On Jan. 8 the party’s executive committee elevated Power from vice chair to replace Christian Ziegler in the position he’d occupied for a year.

Christian and Bridget Ziegler

Ziegler was toppled by a threesome. Police investigated whether he sexually assaulted an unidentified woman he called a “friend.” Though cleared of rape, Ziegler still may be charged with felony video voyeurism.

His wife Bridget Ziegler, the admitted third party in the threesome, wasn’t investigated, but her colleagues on the Sarasota County School Board want her to resign. A co-founder of the ultra-conservative, book-banning Moms for Liberty, she refuses to leave.


Power, 42, ran against Christian Ziegler for party chairman last year and lost. He’s been a fixture in Republican state politics for a decade; Gov. Ron DeSantis endorsed Power to replace Ziegler.

Tallahassee police reports and body camera footage tell the same story of Power’s arrest as the online video, a highlights-only copy. Florida Bulldog verified the online video’s authenticity through public records.

Told he’s going to jail, Power responds, “Awesome.” Then he laughs.

“Yeah, he reeks,” one officer tells the other. Power says he drank two Bud Lites.

“I realize that this is not going to end well for me,” he notes after giving up on trying to pass the sobriety test.

evan power
A Tallahassee police officer examines the .38 Ruger pistol found in Evan Power’s car. Photo: Tallahasse PD

There’s more. An officer holds a Ruger .38-caliber pistol that was taken from the center console of Power’s car along with five rounds of ammunition, including one in the chamber. Also found were an unspecified number of silver bars. The pistol and ammunition were impounded and later returned; Power told police to leave the silver bars in his car, which was towed away.

Afterwards Power told the Tallahassee Democrat, “I was tired and a distracted driver and made a mistake.” A lobbyist with Ramba Consulting Group, Power headed the local Leon County Republican Party.


On March 20, 2023 Power pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of reckless driving, according to Leon County court records. The docket sheds no light on why it took more than four years to resolve his simple traffic case.

Power was sentenced to six months’ probation and 50 hours of community service for what was described as a first offense.

evan power
Evan Power’s mugshot. Photo: Tallahassee PD

A handwritten note on his sentencing order reads, “Restitution reserved. Can buy out hours @$10/hr.” So Power was given the option of paying $500 instead of performing any community service.

“Restitution reserved” must refer to money Evan Power owed the owner of the car he plowed into back in 2018. Either he’d already paid for repairs and still needed to prove it, had promised to pay, or somehow avoided paying.

Power did not return a phone call to his office at Ramba Consulting in Tallahassee. His criminal defense lawyer, Aaron Wayt,didn’t respond to a Florida Bulldog email seeking comment.

Why the arrest video didn’t surface until Jan. 19, 11 days after Power won his party chairmanship, is unclear. But perhaps not coincidentally, Jan. 19 was the day Sarasota police investigators working the Christian Ziegler case unveiled the probable cause affidavit for video voyeurism; also, Ziegler was cleared of the rape complaint.

Thomas Kennedy, former political director of the Florida Immigrant Coalition in Miami, launched the Power video on social media. Kennedy released it as soon as he got it from “someone involved in Florida politics” who wants anonymity, he texted Florida Bulldog.

The video went viral, quickly racking up 935,500 views, 9,913 likes and 4,154 reposts.


The Tallahassee Democrat didn’t follow up on Power’s arrest with a report about the outcome. No other newspaper reported on Power’s arrest, the video or the case’s outcome.

The Democrat did, however, publish a front-page feature story on Feb. 15 that Power posted on X, writing, “Got some hometown love today.” The headline: “Power’s Play/New Republican Party chair looking to advance GOP dominance after winding political journey to the top.”

Another kind of publication, a video parody that appeared on YouTube Feb. 14, lampoons Evan Power for his DUI. It’s one of 84 videos produced by “Florida GOParody” in the past seven months.

In the Power YouTube video, a spokesman for the “Florida GOP” stands at a podium and endeavors to put a positive spin on the chairman’s pre-arrest behavior.

The sponsorship is bogus: “A message from the Florida GOP.

Narrating the arrest video as it plays behind him, the spokesman says of Power, “Alright, in his defense, he always smells that way.” Reeks of booze, that is.

Then, “He’s not slurring his speech, OK? That’s just his accent, his Orlando accent.”

And finally this: “OK, new press conference. Evan Power is not the man we thought he was.”

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Latest comments

  • It helps to be a lush if you’re going to be Florida GOP

  • I am glad to see video of empowered people being brought to bear for social indiscretions; DRUNK DRIVING! Now, how about a video of a serious interview, “no holds barred”, about why our state is not allowed to teach “DEI”. Let’s DEMAND TRANSPARENCY! We show DUI videos, (Even Powers), and scurrilous, soft porn videos, Christian Ziegler and wife .

  • Are you really suggesting that “Drunk Driving” (as you put it) is not serious?

    And then say that DEI is worse than DUI! How many people has Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) killed? Zero! How many have died by the irresponsible actions of people “driving drunk” as you dismissively put it. Millions! No wonder the GOP is living in a false reality of their own making. WOW!

  • O boy, did I ever misread Anthony’s comment! I’m sorry. But, my point still stands as I have read others who think it scandalous that videos of public officials committing crimes is inconsequential, and the one who would post such a video should be ashamed.

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