Family Research Council president Tony Perkins and dozens of other prominent conservatives are expected to endorse Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, for president, a move that aims to coalesce conservative support around one candidate, a National Review article claimed Tuesday.
The article states that a coalition of as many as 50 influential conservative activists gathered on Dec. 7 at the Sheraton Hotel in Tysons Corner, Virginia, for a meeting that was spearheaded by Perkins for the purpose of hashing out which candidate the conservative activists will unite their support behind.
After a long day of discussion and debate, it took five different votes for the group to come to the 75 percent supermajority needed to get the coalition's members to back one candidate. The report states that through the first four sets of ballots, the votes were split between Cruz and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.
Although the article states that Perkins and other senior members of the group were likely "pushing hard" for the coalition to back Cruz, it took until the late hours of the night for the coalition to get 75 percent of the vote in favor of Cruz when five other members finally decided to switch their vote to Cruz on the fifth ballot.
"Despite the drama, the outcome had long been anticipated, according to multiple participants who spoke to National Review on condition of anonymity due to the group's strict off-the-record rules," the article states.
"It represents more than a public-relations victory for Cruz," the article adds. "The senator has long said, both publicly and privately, that his best chance to secure the Republican nomination is to unite the conservative base behind him — and that the best way of doing so is to earn the backing of high-profile activist leaders in hopes that their endorsements trigger a cascade of support down to the grassroots level."
In 2012, a similar meeting was held in Texas, after which most of the group decided to back Rick Santorum.
The meeting grew out of a frustration over so-called "establishment" candidates, such as Sen. John McCain in 2008, securing nominations due to social conservatives dividing their votes among many likable candidates.
According to National Review, the result of the vote will to lead to a string of Cruz endorsements from the meeting's participants, including Perkins.
"An avalanche of endorsements is forthcoming from conservative leaders, including James Dobson, founder and chairman emeritus of Focus on the Family, Ken Cuccinelli of Senate Conservatives Fund, and of course, from Perkins himself," the article asserts.
The article adds that some of the meeting's participants were quick to publicly endorse Cruz within 72 hours of the meeting, such as The Family Leader's Bob Vander Plaats, National Organization for Marriage's Brian Brown and activist Richard Viguerie.
The Christian Post reached out to FRC on Wednesday night but Perkins declined to comment on the validity of the report.
The National Review also reports that other prominent members of the group, such as Concerned Women for America's Penny Nance, have already stated that they do not plan to endorse Cruz despite the outcome of the meeting. Nance could not be reached by CP for comment by press time.
In an interview Tuesday night with Fox News' Megyn Kelly, Perkins again declined to comment on the validity of the report.
"I am not going to comment on private conversations that may or may not have taken place," Perkins said. "I will just say this to your listeners and viewers that if and when I make an endorsement, they can watch it [on Fox News]."
Perkins, however, did explain why he thinks Cruz has surged in the polls and why more Evangelicals and conservatives are backing Cruz.
"As you watch Ted Cruz as he is climbing the ladder of the polls, one of the issues, in addition to national security, that he is addressing is the issue of religious liberty. He has been talking about that issue across the country," Perkins explained. "This is an issue that some candidates are missing it, but Ted Cruz is touching it and I think it's being reflected in his support in the polls among Evangelicals."
"As [Americans] come close to making a decision about who they are going to pull the lever for, they want someone who has a track record on these issues and they start looking at the candidates who are not just talking about it but have done those things," Perkins continued. "Ted Cruz not only speaks the language, he understands Evangelicals because he really comes from their ranks."