Laura Seitz, Deseret News archives
Senator Orrin Hatch speaks to reporters about being forced into a primary for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate against Dan Liljenquist at the Utah Republican Party 2012 Nominating Convention at the South Towne Exposition Center in Sandy, Utah, on Saturday, April 21, 2012.

Sen. Orrin Hatch will be a "key strategic policy adviser" for Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, Hatch's campaign revealed in a Wednesday press release.

"Romney has endorsed Hatch, the ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, for re-election this fall," the press release detailed. "In the role of 'special adviser on policy,' Hatch will serve as a surrogate for the Romney campaign and provide strategic policy advice on key economic issues."

News that Hatch is joining Team Romney effectively eclipses statements made on Tuesday by Dan Liljenquist, Hatch's opponent in the June 26 GOP Senate primary, asserting that Utah's senior senator wants to avoid a third debate with Liljenquist.

The two opponents debated twice prior to the state Republican convention on April 21, when Liljenquist narrowly forced Hatch into a primary for the first time since 1976.