Veteran staffer and campaign manager Austin Durrer is leaving Charlie Crist’s gubernatorial campaign with less than three weeks left before Election Day, and as Florida voters are already submitting vote-by-mail ballots.
In a statement released Friday, a Crist spokesperson said the campaign removed him from his position as soon as it became aware of the arrest.
In a separate statement sent from Durrer’s cellphone and attributed to Durrer and Whisman and reportedly Alex Roarty of McClatchy DC, the two said they were working to drop the charges.
“Very sadly, an incident took place this week at our home that we both regret,” Durrer and Jackie Whisman said. “We are both working to drop legal charges and move forward. 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.”
Sydney Throop, who guided Crist’s previous congressional campaigns and has been running day-to-day operations for his gubernatorial bid, is taking the helm.
“Austin Durrer has departed the campaign to focus on a family matter,” campaign spokesperson Samantha Ramirez said.
Though the campaign faces long odds, the campaign insists Durrer’s departure has nothing to do with the state of the campaign.
Though things had been briefly looking up in August and early September for Democrats nationwide this Midterm cycle, the tide has shifted back toward the GOP in recent weeks.
FiveThirtyEight currently puts Gov. Ron DeSantis 7 percentage points ahead of Crist. The Cook Political Report and Sabato’s Crystal Ball both put the Florida Governor’s race in the “likely Republican“ category. And a recent Mason-Dixon Polling survey had DeSantis ahead by double digits.
Whether this departure will impact the General Election result is up for interpretation. Such a move so soon before an election usually doesn’t bode well, yet it’s likely one person would not be able to change the dynamics of this race.