(CNN) – Republican Dean Cannon, speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, endorsed Rick Perry Wednesday, highlighting the Texas governor’s record of job creation in the Lone Star State.
“President Obama’s big-government, Washington experiment has cost our nation more than 2.3 million jobs,” said Cannon in a statement. “Meanwhile, since just June 2009, Rick Perry’s Texas is responsible for approximately 40% of the net new jobs in America.”
Cannon is a high-profile Republican in a critical state for the GOP. He’s also involved with picking a date for the Florida primary, which is currently set for January 31, earlier than Republican National Committee rules allow for the primary and caucus season.
The RNC warns that the Sunshine State could lose half its delegates should it violate the rules and hold its primary before March. Florida has until October 1 to make a decision.
Cannon’s endorsement followed recent poll results that showed Perry leading the Republican presidential field in Florida.
In an American Research Group survey from late July – weeks before Perry jumped in the race – the Texas governor came in first place at 16 percent among registered Republicans. Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann tied for second in the poll at 15 percent.
“I know that with Speaker Cannon's help, we will win Florida's primary, the Republican nomination, and ultimately, the Presidency," Perry said in a statement Wednesday.
–CNN's Peter Hamby contributed to this report.