Sen. Ted Cruz's presidential campaign was bolstered in Iowa on Monday morning when Rep. Steve King endorsed him - calling Cruz "the answer to my prayers" and predicted God would use the constitutional conservative to "restore the soul of America."
"We have a nation to save and it is important that we get to that here in Iowa," King said in describing Cruz as the "full package."
King, the extremely conservative seventh-term congressman, has met all 17 candidates: "I like them. I enjoy them. I appreciate them. I respect them," he said of the field at a press conference in Des Moines. He was quick to add that any of the "extraordinarily talented" GOP candidates would "clearly" be a better choice for president than Hillary Clinton.
King, a prominent social conservative, emphasized Cruz's ability to draw in the conservative Christian voters who make up 57 percent of Iowa caucus-goers.
King has also been a staunch opponent of comprehensive immigration reform, and he said he wanted a president who would a build a fence to secure the southern border, opposes amnesty and eliminate sanctuary cities.
King's endorsement comes after Marco Rubio criticized Cruz's position on immigration last week, highlighting an amendment that Cruz proposed in 2013 that would have allowed illegal immigrants currently in the U.S. to stay without granting them legal status.
King said the timing of this announcement is the result of clarity that dawned on him after a trip to Europe last week. During that trip King said he watched thousands of Muslims cross Serbian border, calling that "cultural suicide" he added that "their culture will eventually be shifted over to a culture of Islam."
King senses he has a kindred spirit in Cruz. "You know I have been in this same arena, it isn't a lot different where Ted Cruz is today versus where I have been for my whole political career," King explained. He believes that he and Cruz give the establishment everything they want - citing his push for low taxes, low regulation, robust positions on trade, plans for strengthening the economy - "and more."
Craig Robinson of the Iowa Republican says the King endorsement is "better than most because he will actually campaign with Cruz." Robinson believes this could help Cruz to make personal connections on the trail in Iowa which is imperative to winning the caucus in February.
On Friday, Cruz and King will be together at the Family Leader Presidential Family Forum in Des Moines, Iowa. It is a place where Cruz could continue to pick up support from conservative Iowans - a group he has been courting for months. An endorsement from Bob Vander Plaats, The Family Leader President and CEO, would even further bolster his campaign. There is no indication of when or if that endorsement will come.