Not a year after taking office, Stephen Bittel, the Florida Democratic Party chairman, is resigning following reports that he created a hostile work environment for women by “belittling” them in front of male staffers and making suggestive remarks.

“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 in a statement.

Six former staffers and consultants for the state party told POLITICO Florida that Bittel was “creepy” and “demeaning” toward women. They said he made suggestive remarks and that he kept a breast-shaped stress squeeze-ball at his work desk. Bittel did not deny these accounts and apologized for his behavior.

“I am proud of what we have built as a Party and the wins we have had for Florida families, but I apologize for all who have felt uncomfortable during my tenure at the Democratic Party,” Bittel said.

Allison Tant, a former FDP chairwoman, and all four Democrats running for governor, called on him to resign, saying his behavior was unacceptable.

Bittel said he is working with leadership to set the date for the party to elect his successor.

About The Author

Ana covers politics and policy for Florida Politics. Before joining Florida Politics, she was the legislative relief reporter for The Associated Press and covered policy issues impacting immigration, the environment, criminal justice and social welfare in Florida. Ana holds a B.A. in journalism from San Diego State University. After graduating in 2014, she worked as a criminal justice reporter for the Monterey Herald and the Monterey County Weekly. She has also freelanced for The Washington Post at the U.S.-Mexico border covering crime in the border city of Tijuana, where she grew up. Ana speaks is fluent in Spanish and has intermediate proficiency in Portuguese.

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