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Republican Party Withdraws Support of Workman

Republican Party Withdraws Support of Workman



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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The Republican Party on Tuesday withdrew its support of Salt Lake County Mayor Nancy Workman's re-election bid, instead endorsing a late write-in candidate who entered the fray after felony misuse of public money charges were filed against the mayor.

Just 28 days before the Nov. 2 vote, Republican land developer Ellis Ivory, 64, entered the race, saying Workman's legal troubles make it impossible for her to continue as a candidate.

"Nancy is a nice person, but she couldn't win," Ivory said. "I felt like I had to step forward."

At a meeting late Tuesday, Salt Lake County Republicans agreed with him -- dropping support for Workman and endorsing Ivory. The abandonment by her own party is perhaps the most damaging in a series of political blows for Workman -- and illustrates just how far her star has fallen under allegations that she hired a bookkeeper to work at a nonprofit where her daughter was a top financial officer.

Workman, meanwhile, declared Tuesday she will stay in the race, saying the decision is not about winning re-election but instead, "my reputation and the good name of my family."

"To back down now would go against everything I have ever stood for in my personal, professional and political life."

She didn't show up for a candidate's debate Tuesday with Democrat Peter Corroon and independent Merrill Cook, reportedly to meet with her advisers.

Messages left Tuesday by The Associated Press with her campaign managers and at her headquarters were not immediately returned.

All that came on top of a call Monday by the three Democratic County Council members for her to resign.

Workman continues to campaign for re-election even though she has been placed on administrative leave by the county to sort out her legal problems.

She was ordered Monday to stand trial on two felony counts of misusing public funds for allegedly misappropriating about $17,000 in county health department funds to pay for a bookkeeper's position at a nonprofit organization where her daughter is the top financial officer.

Workman has claimed that the charges were politically motivated by the Democratic Salt Lake County District Attorney, David Yocom. However, a bipartisan panel of county attorneys recommended that charges could be sustained against Workman and Yocom turned the case over to a special prosecutor, Michael Martinez.

He said Monday that the judge's decision to bind Workman over for trial effectively removed any claim of political motivation in the charges.

Workman faces an Oct. 18 arraignment on the charges.

Also this weekend, another allegation of financial impropriety involving Workman and county funds surfaced.

Officials say she paid a friend of her daughter's to redesign the county's Web site -- work that never was done. But she ordered his $7,500 bill paid when it was presented months later.

Workman's two-page statement about her election intentions spoke only in vague terms about the allegations against her, and seemed written with a tinge of resignation about her political future.

"I realize that my priorities must be my family, then me, followed by my legal wellbeing and that politics must now take a position down the list," she said.

"As the election draws closer, one of two things will happen: either I will get my trial and be exonerated before November 2nd, or more and more people will realize more and more clearly what the DA is doing, and why."

Workman said she understands her re-election bid may go on without the backing of her party. "Unfortunately, some who are activists in the county party do not always reflect the views of the majority of voters."

"I wish Ellis Ivory the best; I am certain he would be a fine County Mayor. ...

"I'm not perfect, and my administration has not been perfect, but we have done good things that have made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of people. I would like to continue serving as Mayor, and I believe my record in office merits my re-election."

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

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