CBNNews.com - Focus on the Family founder James Dobson officially endorsed the Southern Baptist minister Mike Huckabee in his GOP presidential bid Thursday night.
The endorsement doesn't appear to be too late, either, especially with Mitt Romney dropping out of the picture earlier Thursday.
"The remaining candidate for whom I could vote is Governor Huckabee," Dobson declared. "His unwavering positions on the social issues, notably the institution of marriage, the importance of faith and the sanctity of human life, resonate deeply with me and with many others."
Dobson wants to give Huckabee all the help he can get, especially with McCain racking in the delegates on Super Tuesday.
"Obviously, the governor faces an uphill struggle, given the delegates already committed to Senator McCain," Dobson added. "Nevertheless, I believe he is our best remaining choice for president of the United States."
Of course, Huckabee wouldn't have minded gaining Dobson's backing earlier, especially with Focus on the Family's reported radio broadcast audience reaching nearly 9 million people across the nation and 220 million worldwide.
Rekindling Huckabee's Fire?
As one of the most influential Evangelical leaders in the nation, Dobson's newly declared support of Huckabee could be just the boost that he needs as campaigns take their final turn toward the party conventions.
Dobson spoke with the former Arkansas governor on Thursday and publicly disclosed his decision later that night, according to the Christian leader's spokesman Gary Schneeberger.
In the official statement, it was not made known whether Dobson would campaign for Huckabee, but the Focus on the Family founder said he would "support Governor Huckabee through the remaining primaries."
Last year, Christian actor and martial arts expert Chuck Norris gave Huckabee's campaign new life when he began endorsing and campaigning for the former Arkansas governor.
Out of all the candidates, many would believe that Huckabee best reflects the conservative Christian values that Dobson espouses as head of the Colorado Springs-based ministry.
This is the first time Dobson has endorsed a Republican presidential candidate while primary campaigns were still taking place.
Because Focus on the Family is a tax-exempt organization, Dobson said that his endorsement comes as a private citizen and does not represent the views of his ministry.
Some 110,000 people were e-mailed about Dobson's endorsement of Huckabee through Focus on the Family Action, which is allowed to be more politically active as a separate entity, Schneeberger said.
More Support on the Way?
By far, Dobson is Huckabee's greatest Evangelical endorsement.
Despite this backing, many other big names in the Christian circle haven't come forth to cast their support for the Baptist candidate.
One obstacle for conservative believers revolves around fears that Huckabee would broaden the Evangelical scope to include environmental issues and poverty.
Others shy away because of his stance on the economy and taxes, which has been attacked by some fiscal conservatives.
Countering the Moderate
Dobson's endorsement seems to have as much to do with Huckabee's conservative ideals as it does with McCain's moderate stance.
"It is rather late in the game, but Dr. Dobson is well known for sticking to his guns," said John Green, a senior fellow with the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. "It doesn't surprise me this late in the game that he would make an announcement like this because it fits in well with what he's been saying."
Green believes that McCain is a big motivation for Dobson's decision.
"He really doesn't want a moderate Republican nominee; he wants a conservative," Green concluded.
He says there is still truth to the consensus that Huckabee will only attract the social conservative vote - even with the Dobson endorsement.
But Green also notes that there is talk that Dobson's new support can help him to make up lost ground, especially in the Southern states.
What about McCain?
Any hopes of Dobson backing McCain were dashed on Super Tuesday when the Christian leader delivered a lashing commentary about the Arizona senator's refusal to support a federal anti-gay marriage amendment. Dobson also focused on McCain's backing of embryonic stem cell research, as well as his foul language and hot temper.
In his statement Tuesday, Dobson reminded America that it will be the first time in his life that he would not vote for a president - if McCain is on the Republican ticket.
But McCain is not the only presidential hopeful Dobson has rejected.
The "No" List
Last year, Dobson voiced his disapproval of Rudy Giuliani as a GOP candidate, citing him as an "unapologetic supporter of abortion on demand." He also mentioned the former New York mayor's signing of a bill that brought domestic-partnership benefits to New York City residents in 1997.
And Dr. Dobson shot down Fred Thompson as a possibility last year, when he questioned the former Tennessee senator's Christian convictions and stance on moral issues.
He concluded by saying the former Law and Order star "has no passion, no zeal and no apparent 'want to.'"
Until now Dobson was unclear as to whether he would support Romney or Huckabee, but he said that Romney's drop from the race "changed the political landscape."
Sources: The Associated Press, CBN News