LYNCHBURG, Va. – GOP dark horse Mike Huckabee earned the endorsement Wednesday of Jerry Falwell Jr. bringing a prominent Christian conservative into his corner as his popularity surges in the tightening Republican race.
Falwell, chancellor of Liberty University and son of the late televangelist, gave the endorsement in Lynchburg, Va., saying his father, who founded the Moral Majority, "supported Governor Huckabee before he was number two."
The former Arkansas governor and Baptist pastor said Wednesday that prayer has played a big role in his recent polling success.
"It defies all explanation, confounds the pundits and I'm enjoying every minute of them trying to figure it out, and until they look at it (as) just experience beyond human they'll never figure out and that's honestly why it's happening," said Huckabee, who appeared with Falwell.
Asked if he was saying God is responsible for his surge, Huckabee said he was only referring to prayer:
"When people pray, things happen. ... I'm not saying God wants me to be elected. The last time I checked (God) hadn't registered in any of the states to vote. If He does register, be sure to let me know because I will ask for his vote."
Huckabee has especially taken off in Iowa, which holds its caucuses Jan. 3. The latest Rasmussen poll, taken Nov. 26-27 of 839 likely GOP caucus-goers, showed Huckabee leading with 28 percent in the state, followed by Mitt Romney with 25 percent, Rudy Giuliani with 12 percent and Fred Thompson with 11 percent. The poll had a margin of error of 3.5 percent. Most other recent polls put him in second place, a few points behind Romney.
Huckabee has appealed broadly to Christian conservatives and his latest endorsement from Falwell Jr. helps counter recent high-profile endorsements for his rivals. Giuliani recently earned the backing of Pat Robertson, while Romney earned the endorsement of Moral Majority Co-Founder Paul Weyrich. Thompson was recently backed by the anti-abortion National Right to Life Committee.
FOX News' Serafin Gomez contributed to this report.