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Florida secretary of state resigns after photo reportedly shows him in blackface

Image: Mike Ertel speaks at a panel discussion in Tallahassee, Florida, on
Mike Ertel speaks at a panel discussion in Tallahassee, Florida, on Jan. 30, 2013. Copyright Steve Cannon AP file
Copyright Steve Cannon AP file
By Doha Madani with NBC News Politics
Published on
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The photo, obtained by the Tallahassee Democrat, shows Secretary of State Mike Ertel with brown face paint, wearing red lipstick, earrings and a shirt that said "Katrina Victim."

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The newly-appointed secretary of state in Florida resigned Thursday after a 2005 photo of him reportedly in blackface mocking Hurricane Katrina victims surfaced.

The photo, obtained by the Tallahassee Democrat, shows Secretary of State Mike Ertel with brown face paint, wearing red lipstick, earrings and a New Orleans Saints bandanna. Ertel also had fake breasts under a purple shirt that said "Katrina Victim," according to the Democrat.

Mike Ertel speaks at a panel discussion in Tallahassee, Florida, on Jan. 30, 2013.
Mike Ertel speaks at a panel discussion in Tallahassee, Florida, on Jan. 30, 2013.Steve Cannon

The photo was from a private Halloween party in 2005, just months after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans, according to the Democrat.

Florida's Department of State confirmed Ertel's resignation to NBC News Thursday. The office did not respond to questions regarding the photo, which NBC News has not verified.

Ertel was appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis on Dec. 28.

The governor's press office confirmed to NBC News that DeSantis accepted Ertel's resignation.

Ertel submitted a two-sentence resignation in an email to DeSantis. His signature line includes a quote from Abraham Lincoln.

"These men ask for just the same thing, fairness, and fairness only. This, so far as in my power, they, and others shall have," Lincoln wrote in May 1860.

Before joining the governor's office, Ertel was the elections supervisor in Seminole County.

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