Accusations of affair lead Marion Sheriff's candidate to leave race

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Dan Kuhn, the former undersheriff for Marion County who was accused of having an affair while on the job, dropped out of the race for sheriff Thursday afternoon.

Kuhn resigned his position with the sheriff's department after the accusations became public.

Marion County Sheriff Ed Dean said he is personally devastated by the situation. But he said his duty is to this agency and the people it serves.

Hours after details of a complaint about an extramarital affair between an Ocala school principal and the Marion County Sheriff's Office candidate were made public, Kuhn resigned his position as undersheriff of the agency he hoped to lead.

Dean, Kuhn's former boss, left no question about what he thought Kuhn should do.

"There is no way he can lead the Marion County Sheriff's Office. Therefore I've called on him to to do the right thing and withdraw his name as candidate for sheriff," said Dean earlier in the day Thursday.

Kuhn's campaign manager said the Republican nominee for sheriff made a decision to leave the race.

The attorney for Melissa Cook, the woman who filed the complaint against Kuhn, said no one is celebrating.

"It's screwed up the campaign, it's interfered with the election process, it's damaged families," said attorney Charles Holloman.

Cook's decision to file the complaint may have cost her job at Hale Academy, where she is head of the school. But, her attorney said Cook doesn't believe that Kuhn is fit to lead.

While the Republican Party struggles with what to do leading up to the November election, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement's investigation and Sheriff's Office investigation into any possible wrongdoing surrounding Kuhn's affair continues.

"As far as our agency goes we've earned respect over the years. The question of respect is 'what do you do when something bad happens.' We're going to do the right thing now," said Dean.

Kuhn defeated Ret. Maj. Chris Blair in the Republican primary. Blair spent 35 years at the sheriff's office. Some said he is the man to replace Kuhn on the ballot.

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