Brian K. Hill kicked off a petition drive Saturday to qualify for the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, even though he says he expects to win at least 15 percent of the GOP convention vote, the other qualification route.

“We are confident that we can get on the Republican ballot at the convention in a couple weeks, but we want to make a statement to the Republicans in Connecticut, and to the voting population at large,” said Hill, a lawyer from Windsor.

He is in a five-way contest for the GOP nomination that has been dominated by Linda McMahon, the 2010 GOP nominee, and Chris Shays, the last Republican member of Congress from Connecticut. Also in the race are Peter Lumaj and Kie Westby.

“I intend to get on the ballot. I intend to be on the ballot,” Hill said. “I intend to win the primary for U.S. Senator, and go on to win the general election.”

The Republican convention is May 18.

The primary is Aug. 14.

To qualify by petition, a candidate for statewide office must obtain the signatures of at least two percent of his party’s enrolled voters. The signatures must be collected and turned by 4 p.m. June 12.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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