(CNN) – Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma plans to endorse Gov. Rick Perry in his bid for the White House, his office confirmed to CNN Wednesday.
"I called Rick Perry a year ago and told him, 'If you're running for president, I'll be the first to endorse you,'" Inhofe said at the Tulsa Press Club, according to the Tulsa World. "I'm going to be that person on Monday."
Of the current 2012 GOP contenders, Inhofe said Perry was the strongest choice to beat President Barack Obama.
Inhofe is known as one of the Senate's most outspoken skeptics on climate change and shares his doubts with Perry, who has drawn fire for saying manmade global warming is an unproven scientific theory.
The paper reported Wednesday that Inhofe also weighed in on other White House hopefuls, saying former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is "a little mushy" on environmental issues. As for Newt Gingrich, Inhofe said he's always had a vision of the former House Speaker "sitting on the couch holding hands with Nancy Pelosi."
Besides Perry, Inhofe said there's another potential candidate who could oust Obama: Sen. John Thune of South Dakota.
"The reason I say that is he's taller than Obama is, he's better looking than Obama is, and he's the same age Obama is. He would have made a good candidate, but he's not running," Inhofe said.
While Thune was a favorite in early talks of 2012 presidential candidates, he decided against the idea in February and said he'll stay in the Senate. But in an interview in July, Thune left the door open for a vice presidential spot, saying he wouldn't rule out any options if asked to be the GOP running mate.
- CNN's Steve Brusk and Gabriella Schwarz contributed to this report.