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Corroon opposes a suit to keep Ivory off ballot

Demos’ candidate says ‘it’s time to get back to the issues’

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Peter Corroon, with wife Amy, holds a news conference about mayoral ballot.

Peter Corroon, with wife Amy, holds a news conference about mayoral ballot.

Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News

Salt Lake County mayoral candidate Peter Corroon, a Democrat, is going against his own party in urging its leaders not to sue over Republicans' attempts to make Ellis Ivory their candidate.

"Enough is enough," Corroon said in a press conference at his Avenues home Tuesday. "We've heard enough about the scandals. It's time to get back to the issues."

Party leaders may be listening. State Democratic Party chairman Donald Dunn has called a press conference for today to announce "what we're going to do legally," though he didn't indicate what that would be.

On Monday, County Clerk Sherrie Swensen, also a Democrat, rejected the Republicans' attempt to certify Ivory as their candidate. She said, however, that she would accept such a certification should the party's Central Committee vote to certify him (as they are expected to do) in a meeting next week.

Corroon agreed with his party leaders that Ivory's certification is "at best unethical, at worst illegal" but said at this point a lawsuit is ill-advised.

Dunn and county chairwoman Nichole Adams announced last week that they might sue should Ivory be certified, meaning the election and ballot booklet's appearance would likely remain uncertain until the final hour.

There is a slim possibility, however, that the Republicans will not certify Ivory as their candidate in any case. Mike Ridgeway, for one, a member of the Central Committee, is agitating to keep Ivory as a write-in.

"Nancy Workman is not disabled," Ridgeway said. "This is not something we should be doing."

Ridgeway is frequently at odds with party leadership and other members of the Central Committee, and county party chairwoman Tiani Coleman said she is confident Ivory will be certified (he received the committee's unofficial endorsement earlier this month before Workman stepped down).

Workman, the incumbent, withdrew from the race last week with a doctor's note saying continuing her campaign — given that she is currently charged with felony misuse of public money — would cause her undue physical and emotional stress. County attorneys have accepted that as satisfying a legal requirement that a candidate be "disabled" before the party can replace her.

Former Democratic county commissioner Dave Watson used the same tactic in 1988 after he was arrested for cocaine possession. The Republicans did not challenge the move.

Nevertheless, Ivory, currently a write-in candidate, may choose not to accept the Republicans' certification, considering that being the official Republican candidate at this point could, to a certain extent, work against him.

Ivory has heavily emphasized the write-in nature of his campaign, making campaign stops on a "pencil bus" tricked out to look like a pencil, calling himself the "write" candidate, and other devices to get people to realize they must write him in. He even has explicit instructions on the write-in process on his campaign Web site.

He is a staunch Republican, but should his name ultimately be placed on the ballot, confused voters — given his heavy emphasis over the past two weeks — may write him in anyway, instead of using the standard punch-ballot procedure.

Those write-in votes, according to county attorneys, would not count.

Thus the Democrats will likely benefit either way: If Ivory keeps that status it is a certainty that many voters will not write him in correctly, canceling their votes. And if he is put on the ballot, some voters will probably write him in instead of punching him in, with the same effect.

E-mail: aedwards@desnews.com