Marion Co. sheriff-elect under fire for alleged election law violation

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MARION COUNTY, Fla. - The man just elected as Marion County's new sheriff is already dealing with an allegation of an election law violation, but Chris Blair said he's confident the matter will be resolved quickly.

Blair’s transition into office has been put on hold for 30 days to give the Florida Department of Law Enforcement time to examine the complaint, though the FDLE won’t say what the violation is.

Blair had barely finished his acceptance speech when things were put on hold. He told WFTV he has no idea what specific allegation was made and he said he hasn’t been questioned about the matter by FDLE.  

“Chris Blair has been touting his integrity all the way down the line,” said Bernie DeCastro, who ran against Blair. “If this is a question of his integrity, I’m sure the voters of Marion County want to know about it."

DeCastro lost to Blair, who carried 72 percent of the vote Tuesday night. 

“We’ve got to heal the community, heal the Sheriff’s Office, you know, from some things that I’ve heard,” Blair said.

But Wednesday morning, retiring Sheriff Ed Dean released a statement that said the transition would be delayed for 30 days pending an FDLE investigation. 

The sheriff’s campaign was turned upside down last month when Republican primary winner Dan Kuhn withdrew from the race and resigned as undersheriff amid accusations of an extramarital affair. 

Blair, who finished second in the GOP primary, was inserted by the party as the replacement candidate. 

DeCastro said if there is an election law violation, he should be the new sheriff.