Underdog presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is rising yet again as his campaign receives a huge boost from a line-up of influential Christian conservative leaders.
The former Arkansas governor turned presidential candidate announced Sunday the addition of several new endorsements including those from Stephen Strang, founder of Charisma Magazine; Rick Scarborough, president and founder of Vision America; Janet Folger, president of Faith2Action; Mathew Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel; and Phil Burress, president of Citizens for Community Values, among others.
"To have the support of these leaders of faith means so much to me," Huckabee said in a statement. "I have the greatest level of respect for each person – and I know they will be vital in helping me spread my conservative message of hope and my vision for a stronger America."
In recent weeks, Huckabee has made headlines as his campaign continues to see greater enthusiasm for his candidacy and as he continues to rise in national polls.
The Rev. Dr. Donald E. Wildmon, founder and chairman of the American Family Association, and Chuck Norris, the martial arts superstar and conservative columnist, have also given their personal endorsement to the former Southern Baptist preacher.
"The reason you are starting to see everyone coalesce around Mike is that he doesn't just talk about conservative issues, he breathes them and has a passion for them," said Kelly Shackelford, who serves as chief counsel of Liberty Legal Institute and president of Free Market Foundation. Shackelford also made the decision recently to endorse Huckabee.
"He speaks the truth with an honesty and grace that no other candidate can match in either party," she said.
Dr. James C. Dobson of Focus of the Family, meanwhile, has made it clear that he is "not on the verge of endorsing anyone," including Huckabee. Dobson said Monday that he personally knows and likes Huckabee, but denied reports claiming he planned to endorse the Republican presidential contender in the next few days.
"I'm telling you, it's not true and never has been," said Dobson on Focus on the Family broadcast on Monday. "I may eventually endorse somebody, but if I do, it won't be done here on Focus on the Family. It will be done as a private individual and, more than likely, it will be later in the campaign when the situation has clarified itself."
He further noted that he has never endorsed a candidate in a primary.
"I'm watching these people very carefully. I'm seeing how they hold up in a presidential campaign," he said. "That's a difficult road out there, and weaknesses begin to fall out, and people say stupid things. They reveal untenable positions, and I'm not going to go put my name on somebody at this stage before I see how they're going to handle that. So I'm not on the verge of endorsing anyone."
Yet Dobson clearly stated that one thing is certain: His vote will always be a vote for life.
Huckabee has been praised by Stephen Strang – named by Time magazine as one of the "Top 25 Evangelicals in America" in 2005 – for being a "true conservative."
"He is a true conservative who holds values common to most Americans. Governor Huckabee is a strong, Bible-believing candidate who articulates our values as well as any politician in my lifetime."
In October, Huckabee came in second narrowly behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney at the Washington Values Voter Summit and had a surprising strong second-place finish in August at the Iowa straw poll.