Bart Gawlikowski

Zone 2 candidate Bart Gawlikowski, a longtime volunteer with the City of Lake Helen and current president of the Lake Helen Garden Club, has withdrawn from the race. The reason was a combination of pressure from his other duties, and an attack on his character soon after he entered, Gawlikowski said. Four other candidates remain, in the most packed race in the county.

Lake Helen had a whopping five candidates qualify for an upcoming Zone 2 election, but at least one of the candidates has decided to withdraw.

Vernon Burton, the longtime Zone 2 incumbent who unsuccessfully ran for mayor last year, has decided to retire from the position, Burton said.

Because the race is nonpartisan, and because there are more than two contenders, the race will be on the ballot in the primary, Tuesday, Aug. 18.

If no candidate gets more than 50 percent of the vote on Aug. 18, the top two will proceed to the general election Tuesday, Nov. 3.

Bart Gawlikowski, a longtime resident and volunteer with the City of Lake Helen, in a Facebook post June 19, announced his intention to withdraw from the five-person race.

“I’m just here to announce that as passionate as I was to run again for City Commissioner in Zone 2; dealing with in-home care and a demanding work schedule (as well subjecting myself and family to the standard unnecessary character muggings we knew would occur from the vocally aggressive .1 percent), that it is simply not going to be my time to run,” the post reads, in part.

Gawlikowski, who is also president of the Lake Helen Garden Club, told The Beacon the combination of his current duties, the amount of work required to be a commissioner, and an attack on his character, led to his decision to withdraw

“One single candidate, immediately after my paperwork was filed, was on the attack,” Gawlikowski said. “That statement definitely doesn’t apply to all the candidates.”

On the advice of his lawyer, Gawlikowski declined to give any details.

Volusia County Supervisor of Elections Lisa Lewis said Gawlikowski managed to file his paperwork in the nick of time.

“He actually caught us right before we went to print on the ballot — so his name was removed,” Lewis said.

Gawlikowski was the only candidate so far in the county to qualify by the deadline and subsequently withdraw, Lewis said.

The remaining four candidates will be on the ballot in the Aug. 18 primary. They are: Roger Eckert, Roxann Goodman, J.T. Hargrove, and Nancy Weary.

Although the candidates must live in Lake Helen’s Zone 2, all registered voters who live in the city may cast ballots in the Aug. 18 primary.