Sheriff deputy added to list of those suspended amid affair scandal in Marion County

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MARION COUNTY, Fla. - Marion County sheriff's officials announced the suspension of a deputy in the wake of the Dan Kuhn affair investigation.

The suspension comes after Sheriff Ed Dean suspended a major and captain in the department on Monday.

The suspensions come as investigators look into whether Kuhn, the former undersheriff, violated department policies during his extramarital affair.

Last week, Kuhn resigned and dropped out of the race for sheriff. The Republican Party is set to nominate his replacement on Wednesday after seven candidates threw their names into the mix.

Some believe Chris Blair is now the odds-on favorite to become Marion County's next sheriff, but he may inherit quite a mess.

"I'm not in to chop heads or anything like that," said Blair. "But I'm not indebted to anyone, and it's got to be based on fairness."

Blair narrowly lost the August Republican primary to Kuhn, but Kuhn recently resigned and pulled out of the race after admitting to an extramarital affair, which might have included encounters inside the agency's headquarters.

Retiring Sheriff Dean, who announced he would discipline any deputy who had knowledge of or facilitated the affair, has now suspended three of Kuhn's colleagues -- Maj. David Sperring, Capt. Charles Wildy and Deputy Robert Youmans -- pending the outcome of the investigation.

Blair is a 35-year veteran of the Sheriff's Office and a former major who knew Kuhn and the others but distanced himself from the controversy.

Whoever gets the nod to replace Kuhn will take on Constitution Party candidate Bernie DeCastro in November.