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GOP's poll on Ivory is assailed

County panel member upset with phone calls

A member of the Salt Lake County GOP's central committee is not happy with the party's chairwoman using a telephone poll to gauge the committee's support for placing Ellis Ivory on the ballot as the party's county mayoral nominee.

Mike Ridgway said party chairwoman Tiani Coleman cited an automated telephone poll of central committee members on her second attempt to have Ivory certified as the party's replacement candidate, after Mayor Nancy Workman dropped out of the race. Democratic county clerk Sherrie Swensen, after consulting with the Republican-led Attorney General's Office and State Elections Office, denied that petition Thursday.

"I'm in a position that I'm ready to cry foul," Ridgway said.

He called the poll manipulative, saying there was no time for debate and that a telephone poll does not equal a meeting — required by party rules for any situation that requires a decision from a body within the party.

Coleman said Ridgway is complaining about "intraparty things" that need not be aired in public.

"If he wants to bring them up at the meeting he can and we will talk about them there," she said.

The central committee plans to meet Tuesday to decide whether Ivory, whom the party endorsed as their candidate before Workman removed herself from the race, should be placed on the ballot.

Ridgway called for Workman to drop out of the race shortly after she was charged with misuse of public funds. He has also spoken out against Ivory becoming the party's new standard-bearer. He said he had pushed for the party to get behind independent candidate Merrill Cook, who was elected as a Republican in the 1990s to serve in the U.S. Congress.

However, Ridgway said he wouldn't characterize himself as a Cook "supporter" — just someone who wants to see the party make the right decision and go about it in an orderly way. He said that because Cook was already a candidate and was already approved to be on the ballot, he would have been a good choice for the party's backing.

Coleman said she, too, wants what's best for the party.

"Right now, as the chair of the party, as the spokesperson of the party, as the CEO of the party, I am trying to help keep this election focused on the issues and the candidates and try to help the voters get to the know the candidates so they can make the right choice," she said.