Yesterday was a big day for Saratoga Springs Mayor Mia Love. She won 70.4 percent of the delegate vote at Utah’s GOP convention, securing the Republican Party nomination in Utah’s fourth congressional district. Many observers agree she has a good chance of defeating the incumbent Rep. Jim Matheson, a Democrat.

Before Love’s victory, Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff prompted boos from the convention audience when he referred to Mayor Love as  a “novelty.” Salt Lake Tribune:

Many Republicans were shocked Saturday when Attorney General Mark Shurtleff seemingly dismissed Mia Love — the first black woman nominated for Congress in Utah — as a “novelty.”

“You have to please pick a person with a proven record who can beat Jim Matheson this fall. Not a novelty,” Shurtleff said.

The reference drew boos from many in the audience and outrage from many Republicans.

Republican National Committeewoman Enid Mickelsen said she had an angry confrontation with Shurtleff over the comment.

“At first I didn’t believe it,” Mickelsen said. But Shurtleff, she said, didn’t back away from the comment.

“He said, ‘Enid, what else is her appeal?’ And I lost it,” Mickelsen said.

“I told him he embarrassed the state and as the attorney general of the state he should know better and he would be humiliated by this nationally,” Mickelsen said. “It was a terrible thing to say.”

Shurtleff subsequently apologized. In his apology tweet (at the top of this post), Shurtleff made this claim: “My referring to Mia Love as a novelty was about being new in politics.”

Love was elected to Saratoga Springs’ city council in 2004 — eight years ago. She served on the city council for six years before becoming Mayor.

New in politics? Really?

By comparison, Love’s primary opponent Carl Wimmer (whom Shurtleff supported) was elected to the state legislature in 2006.

And what exactly did Shurtleff mean when he asked Enid Mickelsen “what else is [Mia Love’s] appeal?” Are we really supposed to believe that Shurtleff was referring to Love’s inexperience in politics?

Many on Twitter were highly critical of Shurtleff’s comments:!/gcheal/status/193883742782234625

Apparently Shurtleff apologized in person to Love, and she graciously accepted:

By the way, where did the idea of calling a female tea party favorite a “novelty” candidate come from?