Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, an influential leader in the Evangelical community, has endorsed Ted Cruz for president, expressing confidence that the Texas Senator is "best prepared to lead this nation forward."
Perkins made the announcement on the Fox News Channel on Tuesday night, telling Megyn Kelly of the "Kelly File," "Ted is a constitutional conservative who will fight for faith, family and freedom. He will defend our right to believe and live according to those beliefs. Our families will be protected and freedom will once again mean something in America."
He added, "After looking at these candidates, talking with them, and I have many friends in this race, but I believe the one best positioned, best prepared to lead this nation forward...I believe it's Ted Cruz. He's a bold leader, he's the kind of leader we need right now in America."
Perkins praised Cruz's familiarity with the law, emphasizing that the next president could appoint two or three new Supreme Court justices and help "pull America out of the political and cultural tailspin that President Obama's policies have put us in."
"Leadership is not all about making deals but standing on principle, about respecting the Constitution," Perkins said.
"Ted understands the Constitution and the Supreme Court better than any candidate in this race. He has argued nine cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and has authored 70 Supreme Court briefs."
Although acknowledging there are "attractive" things about frontrunner Donald Trump, Perkins contended that Cruz is, in fact, the best choice for the presidency.
In a statement, Cruz said he was honored to have Perkins' endorsement.
"Tony is a man of incredible principle and faith," Cruz said. "His unwavering commitment to fight for life and marriage, and religious liberty have reverberated throughout the nation and continue to awaken a culture of life and faith throughout our communities."
He added, "I am honored to have his blessing and endorsement for 2016 so that we can together coalesce conservatives and restore the values upon which this nation was founded."
Politico notes that Perkins, 52, took over as president of the Family Research Council in 2003 after a career serving as a state representative in the Louisiana House and as a Senate candidate in 2002.
His organization is widely focused on pro-family and pro-life issues, such as abortion, homosexuality, and religious liberty. Perkins is vocal as an activist against LGBT causes, calling California's Proposition 8 "more important than the presidential election."
Perkins joins a number of influential Christian figures in endorsing Cruz, including "Duck Dynasty" star Phil Robertson, Bishop E.W. Jackson, Dr. James Dobson, and Brian S. Brown, President of the National Organization for Marriage.
Cruz will participate in the 7th Republican presidential debate on Thursday, January 28 at the Iowa Events Center. The debate, which will be monitored by Megyn Kelly, Bret Baier and Chris Wallace, will air at 9 PM EST on Fox News.