MARION COUNTY, Fla. - Marion County's new sheriff officially took office Tuesday, even though he's being investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement
Agents are looking into whether Chris Blair violated election rules.
Blair insists he will be cleared.
In the meantime, he has to clear the name of the
sheriff's office itself, which suffered quite an embarrassment because of one of its top leaders.
In a ceremony rich in tradition, attended by Marion's finest, Blair became the county's 33rd sheriff.
"Today is a new day, a new beginning. The future is now," said Blair at the ceremony.
But it's a future that will include the results of the FDLE investigation.
An anonymous tip called into CrimeStoppers accused Blair of breaking election laws.
"I'm not concerned with it. I think later, FDLE will do their job and we'll see eventually what the results will be," said Blair.
Blair called the accusations sour grapes, a concoction of his political opponents.
Last summer, Blair narrowly lost the Republican primary to Undersheriff Dan Kuhn. Kuhn later resigned his office and quit the race after an investigation into an
extra-marital extramarital affair.
Republican leaders turned to Blair in the general election, which he won.
Blair said he's sure his hand-picked commanders won't embarrass the sheriff's office.
"They're men of integrity. That's what we teach and preach and that's what we're going to live," said Blair.
As for the investigation into his activities, the new sheriff said he has a job to do.
"I'm going to continue to go forward. We'll wait on the results and I know I'll be cleared," said Blair.
Blair replaces Sheriff Ed Dean, a Democrat who retired after 14 years in office.