The Republican Party on Tuesday withdrew its support of Salt Lake County's mayor, instead endorsing a late write-in candidate who entered the fray after felony misuse of public money charges were filed against the mayor.

Less than a month before the Nov. 2 vote, land developer Ellis Ivory (search), 64, entered the race, saying Nancy 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 of his fellow Republican. "I felt like I had to step forward."

At a meeting late Tuesday, Salt Lake County Republicans dropped support for Workman and endorsed Ivory.

The abandonment by her own party follows allegations that Workman allegedly misappropriated about $17,000 in county money by hiring a bookkeeper to work at a nonprofit organization where her daughter was a top financial officer.

"We still believe she needs to have her day in court, said Tiani Coleman, chairwoman of the Salt Lake County Republican Party. "But we also believe as a party that what has been going on is not sending the right message to voters."

Workman declared she will stay in the race: "To back down now would go against everything I have ever stood for in my personal, professional and political life."

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

Workman 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 and faces an Oct. 18 arraignment.

This weekend, another allegation 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 attorney Greg Skordas said Workman has done nothing wrong in either case.