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Sen. Mike Lee expected to endorse Mitt Romney
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Washington • Sen. Mike Lee is expected to endorse presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Monday, a source close to the senator confirms.

Lee would be the first member of the Senate Tea Party Caucus to back Romney but the last of Utah's Republican members of Congress to throw support behind the former head of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Romney had asked Lee for his endorsement last year and met with the senator again last week. The senator, until now, had said he would wait to endorse the eventual Republican nominee.

Romney has won 563 delegates — more than his rivals' combined delegate counts — on the march to the 1,144 needed to clinch the GOP nod, according to an Associated Press' tally.

Utah's Sen. Orrin Hatch and Reps. Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz previously said they back Romney, and Chaffetz has traveled the country stumping for the contender.

Lee, who like Romney is also Mormon, is a darling of the tea party who joined Sen. Jim DeMint and others in a meeting with Romney last week. DeMint told CNN after that meeting that he wasn't yet endorsing Romney but that he was "excited" about the possibility of him as the Republican nominee.

tburr@sltrib.com

Backing the front-runner would align him with the rest of Utah's federal GOP delegation.
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