Rep. Steve King might not endorse before Iowa caucus

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) might not endorse a candidate before Iowa’s Jan. 3 caucus, he told The Hill on Tuesday.

I will not make a decision unless I come to a conviction, and that’s what it needs to be, he said. It can’t just be going shopping and picking an attractive package off the shelf. It’s got to be a conviction. 

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King, one of the top Republican kingmakers in the state, has long planned to endorse a candidate. He is a close friend of Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), leading many to speculate he might give her his support. But he sounded far from a decision on Tuesday.

I haven’t made up my mind, I haven’t made a decision, he said. I’m still talking to the candidates, still looking, and watching the field kind of sort itself a little bit, which is helpful.

The five-term lawmaker previously said he expected to endorse in September or October.

King is especially powerful in his northwestern Iowa base and with the state’s social conservatives. On average, more than 60 percent of GOP Iowa caucus-goers self-identify as evangelical Christians, making them a crucial group of voters, but they have so far fractured between multiple candidates.

If King doesn’t endorse that makes it more likely they will stay split, giving the leg up to candidates such as Mitt Romney and Ron Paul who are not counting on those voters in the caucus.