(CNN) - Mitt Romney announced a slate of supporters in Missouri Thursday, including the state's Speaker of the House and a number of state lawmakers.
Missouri's non-binding primary is held February 7, but delegates from the state will be officially chosen in a caucus on March 17. The two contests are held in that fashion in order to comply with rules set out by the Republican National Committee.
Announcing the endorsements, the two-time GOP presidential candidate and former Massachusetts governor looked past the nominating contests, focusing instead on the general election against President Barack Obama.
"Missouri will be a critical state in November," Romney said in a statement. "Whether our country continues down the same failed path of the last three years, or chooses a different, more prosperous course might well be decided by Missouri voters. I look forward to working with these leaders to defeat President Obama in Missouri and help put our country on a path to prosperity."
Among the endorsers named Thursday are Steven Tilley, the Speaker of the Missouri House of Representatives, and former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary George H. Walker III. Walker is a cousin of former President George H.W. Bush.
Candidates had until November 22 to file to be on Missouri's primary ballot. All of the major candidates submitted their names except for former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, whose name does not appear on a list of filed candidates from Missouri's Secretary of State.
His absence from the primary ballot won't hurt his potential for receiving delegates from Missouri, however, since the March 17 caucuses are the only binding contests in the Show Me State.
Sen. John McCain narrowly won Missouri in the 2008 presidential election, beating Obama by less than a percentage point.