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Whitmer removes manager over past ‘inappropriate behavior’

February 16, 2018

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” with others in the workplace a number of years ago.

Keenan Pontoni joined Whitmer’s campaign in August. He was her second campaign manager and took the job after leading Democrat Jon 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 state House, led Driskell’s legislative campaign and worked on various state and local campaigns in Michigan.

Whitmer is among four main Democrats running for governor to succeed term-limited Republican Rick Snyder. The other three are former Detroit health director Abdul El-Sayed, businessman Shri Thanedar and former business executive Bill Cobbs. The primary election is in August.

The Whitmer campaign’s political director, Dana Cherry, will be the interim manager.

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Follow David Eggert on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DavidEggert00 . His work can be found at https://apnews.com/search/David%20Eggert

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This story has been corrected to show that Ossoff’s first name is Jon, not John.

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