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Sen. Mike Lee says he has gathered the required 28,000 signatures from registered Republicans to guarantee him a spot on the primary ballot — if there is a GOP primary in the Senate race.

Lee's campaign has turned over the signatures to the lieutenant governor's office, which is responsible for certifying their validity.

Lee, a tea-party Republican who bumped off three-term Sen. Bob Bennett in 2010, has promised to use both available tracks to seek his party's nomination: the traditional convention route and, through law established by SB54, gathering signatures. The Utah Republican Party continues to fight this new path in court.

The Lee campaign hired the company Gather, which is working for a number of politicians. The signature gatherers focused primarily on the highest population areas around the Wasatch Front and Washington and Iron counties in the south.

Lee's campaign manager, Jordan Hess, said the senator or his campaign team have held events in each of the 29 counties and have made more than 100,000 calls to recruit potential delegates to attend the March 22 neighborhood caucus meetings.

"We are moving ahead in executing the plan we announced well over a year ago, to use every means available under state law to guarantee Senator Lee is on the ballot," Hess said.

At this time, Lee has no Republican challenger. Jonathan Swinton, the owner of a marriage counseling company, is running for the Democratic nomination. He is not collecting signatures.