Gustafson withdraws from council race, third candidate enters mayor’s race

Loaded field triggers Aug. 14 primary

City Council Member Dan Gustafson withdrew his bid for a third four-year term, and a third candidate entered the mayor’s race Tuesday in Burnsville.

Filing for city offices closed at 5 p.m. with a loaded field, triggering an Aug. 14 primary to narrow the number of candidates before the general election in November.

Mayor Elizabeth Kautz is being challenged by Jerry Willenburg, whom she narrowly defeated in 2008, and by Bill David Ansari, who filed on Tuesday.

Eight candidates, including incumbent Mary Sherry, are running for two council seats.

“I withdrew today,” Gustafson said Tuesday night. “My wife and I have been talking about it on and off for quite a while. I’ve had eight really good years on the council. I really have enjoyed it. I’m almost 60 years old. I want to go to Arizona this winter and spend two or three months and work on some business concepts that we have, one of which is existing right now (a roving food truck called the Wicked Palate).

“We have a lot of people running. Out of that crowd, there’s going to be a good candidate.”

In addition to Sherry, the other council candidates are Suzanne Nguyen, Richard Hoel, Bruce Johnson, James Cammarato, Rochell Ansari, Steve Cherney (a former Burnsville council member) and Pat Madden.

The mayor’s race will be narrowed to two candidates and the council race to four in the Aug. 14 primary. Burnsville holds a primary when the number of candidates is one more than twice the number of open seats for an office.