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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Salt Lake County Republican Party officials have accused central committee member Mike Ridgway of hampering the organization and injuring its good name. They have set a hearing for him to respond.
The letter is a result of a meeting Thursday night in which members met to discuss if Ridgway should retain his post in the party. The allegations will be addressed at a hearing on Dec. 9.
Ridgway was among a small number of party members who were critical of the way county Mayor 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 and some of the other dissidents had been supporters of Merrill Cook, the former Utah congressman running for mayor as an independent. They denied that their support of Cook was the reason for there opposition to the party putting Ivory on the ballot.
Ridgway maintained that they feared the GOP's reputation could not withstand another implication of scandal by backing Workman's disability claim.
Ridgway said he is now being singled out for possible ouster because of his criticism of the disability claim.
Ridgway said the situation is similar to the 2002 purge, when nearly a dozen Republican leaders were removed from party posts for supporting Democratic County Councilman Randy Horiuchi.
"These are people that delight in taking out people for the sake of taking them out," he said.
The letter accuses Ridgway of misrepresenting the process to obtain office, demonstrating abusive behavior toward party members and volunteers and maligning the intentions and reputations of the party to the media.
Committee Chairwoman Tiani Coleman said Ridgway was reprimanded for similar allegations two years ago and again last April.
(Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)