Florida Rep. Connie Mack (R) announced Thursday he has endorsed former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for president in 2012. 

"We need true leadership in the White House with someone who is uniquely qualified to grow the economy and create the quality jobs that Americans deserve and need," Mack said, according to a report from The St. Petersburg Times flagged by Romney's exploratory committee.

Mack's endorsement is one of the first official statements of support on the GOP side in the 2012 campaign, and it comes from a state whose electoral votes could determine the outcome of the election.

The congressman's endorsement is not surprising, he served as a co-chairman of Romney's unsuccessful 2008 campaign. Thus far, Romney's supporters on Capitol Hill have provided him political cover for the healthcare law he enacted as Massachusetts governor, which observers say could be an Achilles heel for him.

Romney is expected to travel next Friday to the Sunshine State, and two early polls showed him leading President Obama there.