To quiet those critical of his near-36 year tenure in Congress, Hatch announced earlier this year that he would not seek re-election to an eighth term -- when he would be 84 -- should he win this year.
Liljenquist shifted his attack strategy to zero in on Hatch's refusal to take part in a television debate during the primary. Liljenquist even devoted his first TV ad to a debate challenge, questioning whether the senator was trying to avoid a side-by-side image with the younger Liljenquist.
The strategy drummed up enough attention to put Hatch on the defense, as local newspapers and outside groups also called for the senator to take part in the debate. The senator's campaign argued, however, that Hatch had already agreed to a radio debate and needed to go no further, citing a busy schedule in Washington.
When the two eventually went head-to-head in a June 15 radio showdown, Liljenquist tore into Hatch, accusing him of turning into a Washington insider and ushering "fiscal child abuse" in Congress.
In a candid exchange, Hatch bit back in frustration.
"Apparently I'm responsible for everything that's wrong in the federal government," Hatch said. "That's total BS and everybody knows it."
As he often did in the race, Hatch argued his experience and rank in the Senate was a big plus for voters, as it allows him to fight for key job-creating entities in the state, including Utah's Air Force base
Throughout the campaign, Hatch also made sure to boast his other biggest asset besides money-Mitt Romney's endorsement. The former Massachusetts governor, who holds sway in Utah with his Mormon ties and his work turning around the Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games in 2002, came out in support for Hatch in September 2011, long before Hatch had an official challenger.
Romney cut ads for Hatch during the course of the campaign and traveled to Utah for a photo op with the senator in early June.
Hatch's camp also cashed in with a significant -- albeit out-of-the-norm -- endorsement from tea party favorite Sarah Palin. She threw her weight behind Hatch in May, saying he was "part of the one percent of national politicians who I think should be re-elected."