Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) endorsed Mitt Romney in an interview with the Salt Lake Tribune Sunday.

"This is a pretty critical year," Lee said to the Tribune. "There are big decisions for the country to make and … I think we would be well-advised as Republicans to start getting behind our eventual nominee."

Lee, with backing from the the Tea Party, beat out then-Sen. Robert Bennett for the GOP nomination in 2010 at the state conventions. Conservatives hammered Bennett over his support for the Troubled Asset Relief Program and for cosponsoring a healthcare reform bill with Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.). Romney supported Bennett. Romney also has defended TARP and touted the Wyden-Bennett plan in 2009.

The former Massachusetts governor welcomed the endorsement from Lee, a member of the Senate Tea Party Caucus, in a statement: "Mike has been fighting on the frontlines to repeal Obamacare and restore fiscal sanity in Washington," Romney said to the Salt Lake, Utah, paper. "I will need the support and hard work of leaders like him if we are going to be successful in shrinking the federal government and restoring America’s promise of freedom and prosperity. I am honored to have Mike’s support and look forward to his advice in the coming months."

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