File: Republican presidential candidate U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.). REUTERS/Harrison McClary

Paul Pressler, a former Texas appeals court judge who has long been a supporter of conservative causes and active in Texas politics, announced Saturday that he is endorsing Sen. Ted Cruz (R) for president.

Pressler, who in 2012 hosted a large group of evangelical leaders who voted to coalesce their support behind Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign as a challenge to frontrunner Mitt Romney, said he announced his endorsement of Cruz at a meeting of conservatives in Washington Saturday.

“I feel that Ted Cruz is electable and he stands by his convictions in an articulate manner,” Pressler said in an interview Saturday.

[It turns out Ted Cruz does not get his insurance through Obamacare]

Cruz announced his candidacy at Liberty University, which was founded by fundamentalist preacher Jerry Fallwell, and is assiduously courting religious conservatives to back his campaign. The endorsement from Pressler comes as former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee challenges Cruz for the support of religious voters.

Pressler said he has been friends with Huckabee for “30, 40 years” and has also known former Texas governor Rick Perry, a prospective candidate, for decades. Pressler said he had made up his mind to endorse Cruz when the candidate called him and asked the judge to introduce him at the gathering – and endorse him for president. Pressler first met Cruz when the candidate was a teenager. They have stayed in touch though they are not particularly close.

“If you sit down and listen to him you’ll see a passion, you’ll see a dedication to principles, you’ll see a person that understands the issues and can articulate them very well. And I think it’s something that people will listen to,” Pressler said.