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Lee to Enter Utah Senate Race In Early January

Republican Mike Lee, a former gubernatorial general counsel and the son of former U.S. Solicitor General Rex Lee, is set to enter the GOP primary against Utah Sen. Robert Bennett.

According to sources close to Lee, his official announcement will take place in early January.

When contacted Friday Lee declined to comment about his potential candidacy.

News of Lee’s decision to enter the primary comes just over a week after wealthy businessman Fred Lampropoulos decided to end his short-lived Senate bid, which lasted about a week.

Lee has been making the rounds in Washington D.C. and Utah in recent weeks as he’s moved closer to a Senate bid. Last month he held meeting Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff, who withdrew from the Senate race in early November, as well as the powerful anti-tax group Club for Growth, which has been one of the Bennett’s biggest critics this cycle.

The Club has slammed Bennett for his vote to pass the controversial Wall Street bailout bill and went after the Senator again this fall in a television ad and letter-writing campaign to potential GOP convention delegates for his efforts to promote the Healthy Americans Act, a piece of legislation he created with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

The club has also met with former Congressional candidate Tim Bridgewater and conservative activist Cherilyn Eagar, who are also running in the primary.

Spokesman Mike Connolly said Friday that the Club has not made any decision regarding an endorsement in the Senate race but “it’s fair to say the Club and our members are very interested in the nomination process.”

CQ Politics currently rates the Utah Senate general election contest as Safe Republican.

*To see how all the 2010 Senate races are shaping up, check out the CQ Politics election map.*

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