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Court asked to take Bush off ballot

A current Red Wing City Council member has asked the court to remove at-large candidate Kenneth Bush’s name from the ballot due to his residency.

Mike Schultz, who represents Ward 3 and is not seeking re-election, filed a petition with the district court in Goodhue County on Monday asking that Bush be removed as a candidate for the at-large seat in the Aug. 12 primary.

According to a copy of the petition Schultz provided, he submitted documents to the court in an attempt to prove that Bush isn’t a resident of 166 Cannonwood Drive in Red Wing, the address Bush listed on his second affidavit of candidacy, and that he could not live at that address before this fall’s elections due to existing leases and ownership.

“I only seek the truth of Mr. Bush’s residency and eligibility to run for this office,” Schultz said.

Schultz said in the petition that Bush was not an eligible voter when he filed on June 3 and didn’t own the property at Cannonwood Drive then.

Included in documents filed with the court was Bush’s first affidavit of candidacy, where he listed his residence address in Stockholm, Wisconsin. That affidavit was rejected by the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office.

In an earlier interview with the R-E, Bush said he is temporarily living at a home in Stockholm that he purchased as a real estate investment. He said his plan is to move back to Red Wing before the general election.

Bush said Tuesday he believes the residency law focuses on intent, and “my intentions were to never leave my residency in Red Wing or Minnesota.”

“My business and all my community activities have been focused in Red Wing,” he said. “Unfortunately, there are powerful people who want to keep me off the ballot and prevent voters from judging my record for themselves.”

Bush said his decision to list the Cannonwood Drive address on the second affidavit of candidacy, which was approved, was on the advice of an attorney who talked with the Secretary of State’s Office. It’s the last permanent address he had in Red Wing, he said.

Schultz’s court filing includes an affidavit from Chad Hadler saying he owns the property at 166 Cannonwood Drive and purchased it on Oct. 1, 2013. His affidavit details other residents there since at least October 2012. Lease agreements were included in the petition, along with deeds and tax documents.

Bush said he still is consulting with his attorney about how to respond and hasn’t decided whether he will withdraw his candidacy.

A hearing is set for 9:30 a.m. Friday.

Tight timeline

Schultz said he hopes the court will act quickly due to the tight timeframe.

He wants Bush’s name off the ballot for the Aug. 12 primary, and absentee voting for that begins June 27.

“If this is allowed, it seems to me that there’s a hole in Minnesota election laws,” he said.

Schultz said Bush has served the Red Wing community, including on the Blue Ribbon Economic Development panel in 2009 and 2010 and as a member of the HRA.

“That service does not preclude me from seeking the truth, thus the petition to the court today,” Schultz said Monday. “They will decide if his candidacy is appropriate and fits under the current law.”

Schultz raised the issue earlier at the June 9 Red Wing City Council meeting.

Erik C. Fridell, Kalista Kaufmann-Willi and Dustin J. Schulenberg also are running for the at-large seat. Current at-large Council member Marilyn Meinke is not running again.

Danielle Killey

Danielle Killey covers local government for the South Washington County Bulletin. She has worked as a reporter for other Forum Communications newspapers since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.

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