Top Crist aide who resigns accused of assault


A former aide to Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist was arrested Tuesday in connection with an alleged domestic violence incident shortly before he left the campaign, according to court records.

Austin Durrer was charged with second-degree assault Tuesday in Cambridge, Maryland. That same day, Durrer was listed as a complainant in a criminal case against a woman, Jackie Whisman, who has the same address as Durrer and was also charged with second-degree assault.

According to court records, Durrer, 43, was ordered to move away from their shared residence and to surrender the firearms. He was arrested and released after posting $10,000 bond.

Durrer’s departure comes less than three weeks after Election Day, when Crist faces Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. A Siena College poll of likely voters last month showed DeSantis leading Crist by 8 points.

Crist spokeswoman Samantha Ramirez said Friday that Durrer was “dismissed as soon as the campaign became aware of this situation.” On Wednesday, Ramirez told CNN that Durrer “stepped down from the campaign to focus on a family issue.”

In a text message, Durrer told CNN that Whisman, 39, is her partner and they have a daughter together. Durrer said a statement was his and Whisman indicated the pair are working to get the charges dropped. Whisman has not spoken publicly.

“Very unfortunately, an incident occurred at our home this week that we both regret,” the statement read. “We are both working to get rid of the courts and move on. Our main focus right now is our daughter, our greatest joy, and we appreciate privacy and respect as we navigate this as a family.”

NBC News first reported the allegations against Durrer.

Before joining the campaign, Durrer was chief of staff in Crist’s congressional office. He was replaced by Deputy Campaign Director Sydney Throop on Wednesday.