The Libertarian Party of Kentucky is close to completing its effort to have a candidate on the ballot this fall for U.S. Senate.

The Libertarian Party announced Thursday that its candidate, 42-year-old David Patterson of Mercer County, appears poised to be able to take on Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes and Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell, providing voters with a third option.

Independent and third party candidates are required under state law to obtain 5,000 registered voters’ signatures to be on the ballot. Independent Ed Marksberry announced this week he was giving up his effort to obtain signatures.

Libertarian Party leaders announced they have collected at least 4,000 signatures toward their target goal of 8,000.

“We’re currently sitting right at about 5,000 as of today actually,” Patterson, who is a police officer in Harrodsburg, Ky., told WFPL on Friday. “The 8,000 is our comfort zone.”

“What we’re interested in is: get someone in Washington who will represent the people in terms of lessening the burden on our personal freedom. And when you talk about the other two parties, they have a tendency to spend, spend, spend and throw money at the problem.”

Libertarian leaders hope to be finished compiling the needed signatures ahead of the Fancy Farm picnic on Aug. 2. Petitioners are collecting signatures throughout the state at a rate of 2,000 signatures per week, said Libertarian Party Chair Ken Moellman.

Moellman, who ran for state treasurer in 2011, said he anticipates Democrats and Republicans will challenge Patterson’s signatures in court.

“They have to prove the signatures are bad,” he said. “There are a lot of signatures to plow through. Certainly they do have a lot of resources on their side, but as I mentioned before we’re going to be validating all of these signatures first. We know we will be over 5,000 good signatures.”

The deadline to turn in signature to be on the fall ballot is Aug. 12