Dem Campaign Manager Arrested for Domestic Violence

Florida's Charlie Crist quietly dropped Austin John Durrer from campaign to 'focus on a family matter'

Florida Democratic gubernatorial nominee Charlie Crist / Getty Images
October 21, 2022

Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist quietly dropped his campaign manager, Austin John Durrer, the day after Durrer was arrested for domestic violence. The campaign said Durrer resigned "to focus on a family matter."

Durrer was arrested Tuesday on assault charges after a dispute with his girlfriend. A day later, the Crist campaign announced his resignation, with no mention of the arrest.

Durrer's girlfriend was left with marks on her face after the incident, NBC News reported.

Austin John Durrer, 43, was arrested early Tuesday on a second-degree misdemeanor assault charge following a dispute at a Cambridge, Maryland, home, according to online court records and the prosecutor in the case, Amanda Leonard, who read a probable cause affidavit to an NBC News reporter over the phone.

In a brief telephone interview with NBC News, Durrer acknowledged the arrest occurred in the dispute with the mother of his child, Jackie Whisman, with whom he lives. He said he pressed charges the following day, which NBC News confirmed via online court records. She confirmed the account and issued a joint statement with him.

"Very sadly, an incident took place this week at our home that we both regret. We are both working to drop legal charges and move forward," the statement said. "Our primary focus at this time is our daughter, our greatest joy, and we appreciate privacy and respect as we navigate this as a family."

According to the probable cause affidavit read by Leonard to NBC News, the woman had marks on her face from the dispute.

Durrer is not the first Democrat exposed for domestic abuse. Delaware senator Tom Carper in a 1998 interview admitted to slapping his wife, even though he had declared the accusation a lie in his 1982 congressional campaign.

With less than three weeks until the election, Crist is trailing Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis by 9 points, according to the latest polls.