Mark Shurtleff refers to Mia Love as "a novelty"

Mark Shurtleff refers to Mia Love as "a novelty"

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - The Attorney General's convention comment creates firestorm.
Mia Love
Mia Love
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) - Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love is the Republican nominee in Utah's 4th Congressional District.

But her victory came after some serious controversy.

After the first round of balloting at Utah's Republican convention Saturday, the GOP 4th district field was narrowed down to two – Love and former legislator Carl Wimmer.

However, when Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff appeared on the convention stage to offer his support to Wimmer, Shurtleff referred to Love as a, “novelty.”

Love is African-American.

Shurtleff's characterization of Love was met by boos from several delegates.

Love then went on to clinch the 4th District Republican nomination with 70% of the vote.

ABC 4 was the first to reach Love backstage after Shurtleff made his novelty comment.

When we asked her about that remark, Love responded by essentially asking – well, how did that work out for him?

Also, after the vote, an upset delegate addressed the convention.

Pastor Greg Johnson criticized Shurtleff for his comment.

Later, Johnson told ABC 4, "The insinuation that she is a novelty is what? What did the attorney general mean when he called her a novelty or that we shouldn't elect a novelty?"

And speaking of the attorney general...

Just moments later, we caught up with a tearful and regretful Mark Shurtleff.

He told us, "My attitude was she's brand new to this process, we need someone who is proven. Terrible choice of words.”

ABC 4 News has learned that Shurtleff also got an earful from one of the leaders of Utah's Republican Party.

The attorney general eventually sought out Love and expressed remorse.

Love told us, "He came over and apologized and we're all on one team.”

ABC 4: "He apologized?"

Love: "He did. He did."

And while Shurtleff's comments were meant to assist Carl Wimmer, some at the convention felt that the attorney general's remarks actually backfired and he might have ended up helping Love get the nomination.

Perhaps, ironically, Shurtleff is seen by some as having solid civil rights credentials.

He has even written a book about Dred Scott.

Love now faces Democratic Congressman Jim Matheson in November's general election.


FOLLOW CHRIS VANOCUR ON TWITTER: @cvan4


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