Dozens of black conservative leaders nationwide are expressing support for Republican White House contender Mike Huckabee, who they believe best represents the values of American conservatives.
The African American leaders praise the former Arkansas governor's track record on traditional values; his support for education and immigration reforms; his tax policies, which they say allows for economic growth; and his good relations with the black community.
"The fact that 47 percent of African-American voters supported the reelection of Governor Huckabee in 2002 is testament to this laudable achievement improving the lives of Arkansans across the entire economic range," wrote Donald E. Scoggins, president of Republicans for Black Empowerment and organizer of the list, in a statement.
Scoggins, who is endorsing Huckabee as an individual, also pointed to the "unprecedented" number of appointments of African-Americans, about 300, to state boards, commissions and key executive level positions within the Arkansas state government under Huckabee's administration.
"We are proud and honored to give our support to the bid of Mike Huckabee to become the Republican Party's nominee as the next President of the United States of America," the statement reads.
Among the black leaders supporting Huckabee, according to Scoggins, are Star Parker, founder and president of CURE (Coalition on Urban Renewal & Education); the Rev. Dean Nelson, executive director of the Network of Politically Active Christians; and Bishop Imagene B. Stewart, national president of African American Women's Clergy Association.
Scoggins said the complete list will be announced by the Huckabee campaign in mid-January right before the South Carolina primary.
Meanwhile, Democratic Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois has prompted several black South Carolina ministers to say recently that they had not endorsed the presidential hopeful despite their names appearing on a list compiled by his campaign.
Several of the black ministers on the list of nearly 130 told the Associated Press they had not decided on who they will vote for and was unclear how they ended up on the list of endorsers.
In South Carolina and in general, African-American voters have overwhelmingly supported Democratic candidates, but those supporting Huckabee are among a small but growing number of black conservatives who vote according to issues rather than based on their racial community.