Whitmer removes manager over past ‘inappropriate behavior’

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The campaign manager for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Gretchen Whitmer resigned Thursday, a day after Whitmer said she received a credible report that he had engaged in “inappropriate behavior” in the workplace several years ago.

Keenan Pontoni joined Whitmer’s campaign in August. He was her second campaign manager and took the job after leading Democrat John Ossoff’s unsuccessful campaign in a special election for Georgia’s 6th Congressional District.

Whitmer, who is considered the front-runner for the Democratic nomination, issued a short statement announcing Pontoni’s departure.

“Yesterday, I received a credible report that a number of years ago, my campaign manager engaged in inappropriate behavior with people in the workplace and for that reason I have asked for and received his resignation effective immediately,” she said, declining to elaborate.

Pontoni could not immediately be reached for comment Thursday night.

Pontoni managed Ossoff’s campaign in the first half of 2017, briefly was involved in Michigan’s presidential election recount in late 2016 and, before then, managed Democrat Gretchen Driskell’s unsuccessful campaign against Republican Rep. Tim Walberg in Michigan’s 7th Congressional District.

He previously was the special projects coordinator for Democrats in the Michigan House, led Driskell’s legislative campaign and worked on various state and local campaigns in Michigan.

Whitmer is among the four main Democrats running for governor to succeed term-limited Republican Rick Snyder. The primary election is in August.

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