Republican William "Billy" Woods earned the most votes in the race for Marion County Sheriff, beating out Democrat Dennis McFatten.
Woods earned 63 percent of the votes whereas McFatten earned 37 percent. During the primary election, Woods earned 20,147 votes and McFatten earned 9,448.
Woods has served several roles during his 26 years with the Ocala Police Department, including patrol sergeant, special operations supervisor, watch commander and his current role as lieutenant. In his new role as sheriff, Woods plans to correct fiscal issues within the sheriff's office and put more patrol deputies on the street.
Incumbent Chris Blair was running for re-election but pulled the plug on his campaign as part of a plea deal. In exchange, prosecutors dropped criminal charges against him. Blair was indicted in May on two counts of perjury and one count of official misconduct. Blair was accused of lying about an excessive force case.
Woods hopes his win will mean the county can move forward.
"Part of the things of building that trust is making sure we have transparency, making sure we have an open door policy within our community," Woods said after his win. "You know, there are several programs that we've got to ensure that we continue, that's been started. Internal affairs, body cameras, and those types of things that can help us ensure to our citizens to know that our deputies are always doing the right thing out there."
McFatten, a retired Marion County Sheriff's Office captain, planned to work to make streets safer, bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community and increase transparency if elected.
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