Florida Democratic chairman stepping down over creepiness

Stephen Bittel keeps breast-shaped stress ball in his office, report says

By Daniel Dahm - Digital Manager , AP Author
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Stephen Bittel.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida Democratic Party Chairman Stephen Bittel said Friday that he is stepping down after reports that he has made several women uncomfortable.

"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. 

Four Democratic candidates for Florida governor had asked Bittel to step down.

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham and businessman Chris King called on Stephen Bittel to resign in response to a Politico report quoting anonymous women saying that Bittel would leer at them, make comments about their appearances or breasts and exhibit other behavior that made them uncomfortable. He also had a breast-shaped stress ball in his office, according to the report.

None of the women said he groped or assaulted them.

"I apologize for all who have felt uncomfortable during my tenure at the Democratic Party. I am working with our leadership to set the date for our party to elect my successor," Bittel said.

 

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