GOP Ousts Vocal Central Committee Member

GOP Ousts Vocal Central Committee Member

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A member of the Salt Lake County Republican Party Central Committee who has been a vocal critic of how the party replaced its mayoral candidate before the November election has been has ousted.

Mike Ridgway, 45, was removed Thursday night after the group's executive committee met for three hours.

The decision was made in a closed executive session and required a two-thirds vote.

Among allegations by the executive committee against Ridgway included consistent neglect of his precinct and duties, he fostered a hostile atmosphere that has driven people away form the organization, and he demonstrated abusive behavior to the party leadership.

Chairwoman Tiani Coleman said the committee found the allegations against him credible and basis for removal. She said there will also be a recommendation made later to remove him as a county and state Republican delegate.

"I will make my defense against these slanderous charges," Ridgway said.

Ridgway was among a small number of party members who were critical of the way county Mayor Nancy Workman was replaced on the ballot by Ellis Ivory, who went on to lose to Democrat Peter Corroon.

The party was able to replace Workman, who faces charges of misuse of funds, when she claimed she was withdrawing from the race due to disability.

Ridgway and other dissidents questioned whether Workman truly was disabled or only making that claim so the party could elevate Ivory from write-in candidate to its ballot candidate.

Ridgway maintained that they feared the GOP's reputation could not withstand another implication of scandal by backing Workman's disability claim.

(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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