Congressman Steve King (IA-4) is endorsing Texas Sen. Ted Cruz for the Republican presidential nomination. The Iowa Republican said Cruz was a "constitutional originalist" and the answer to his prayers. King cited the Texan's views on faith, the military, and immigration policy in his endorsement speech.
Both men are firebrands and often at odds with establishment colleagues in their own party. But King, who is well-liked among evangelicals and the tea party in his state, says the senator will be able to appeal to libertarian, evangelical, and mainstream Republican voters.
"I think he gives the establishment everything they want, he just gives them more than they want," says King.
Another candidate polling well with Iowa evangelicals is neurosurgeon Ben Carson. When asked why he wasn't endorsing the physician, King said he respects Carson's vision and intellect, but doubts he would be able to take on inside-the-beltway politics.
"The zone of Washington, D.C. is not an area that’s he’s familiar with, and so that give me pause," says King. "You need to know what’s going on in that organism to do something about it."
In 2012 King didn't endorse a candidate, and in 2008 he supported Fred Thompson.
The first-in-the-nation Iowa Caucuses are less than three months away. According to a recent CNN poll Carson ranks second and Cruz in fourth place among likely Republican Caucus-goers.