The FAMiLY Leader as an organization will not endorse, but the board released Bob Vander Plaats and Chuck Hurley to make their own personal endorsements.

Vander Plaats and Chuck Hurley both personally endorse Rick Santorum.  Vander Plaats calls him a stalwart soldier for faith and marriage.  Vander Plaats also  said that he won’t disparage another candidate, but he believes that Santorum is “one of us,”  and believes that he could be the next Huckabee.

Update: Here’s the presser from The FAMiLY Leader:

Pleasant Hill, IOWA. – The FAMiLY LEADER is honored to have had the privilege of showing leadership this past year in the Iowa caucus process and is excited to have played a role in this presidential nomination cycle. 

The FAMiLY LEADER championed this role beginning with our 99-county tour to build grassroots momentum, followed by our monthly Presidential Lecture Series designed to help Iowans learn the pro-family vision of national leaders.  The FAMiLY LEADER was able to get the candidates on record via our marriage pledge and culminate the process with the  Thanksgiving Family Forum, enabling Americans to learn about the biblical and constitutional worldview of the candidates.  The FAMiLY LEADER has truly held up the standard and let Iowans see how each candidate aligned with that standard.

The FAMiLY LEADER Board of Directors views its role in the 2012 caucus process as a standard bearer versus a kingmaker.  However, The FAMiLY LEADER Board of Directors recognizes that there are thousands of undecided pro-family Iowa caucus goers looking for leadership in this selection process.  Therefore, though The FAMiLY LEADER will remain neutral in this presidential campaign cycle, the board has made a unanimous decision to allow Bob Vander Plaats and Chuck Hurley to make personal

endorsements which reflect the board’s unanimity.

Bob Vander Plaats, President & CEO of The FAMiLY LEADER commented, “I am thrilled about the board’s unanimous decision to remain true as a standard bearer while providing a voice of leadership through Chuck and me.”

Now the statement from the Santorum campaign:

Urbandale, IA – Today, two major endorsements were awarded to the Santorum for President campaign. Bob Vander Plaats is the President and CEO of the Iowa FAMiLY Leader and Chuck Hurley is the President of the Iowa Family Policy Center – and both are influential pro-traditional values leaders in Iowa.

Rick Santorum said: "I am truly honored to receive the Bob and Chuck’s endorsement today.  I’ve had the great pleasure of getting to know them over the past several years. In fact, we campaigned together throughout 2010 as they successfully worked to throw out activist judges who redefined marriage in the Hawkeye State.  Their reach and influence covers all corners of Iowa, and I know they did not take this endorsement lightly. This means so much more to our campaign.  If their work on behalf of Governor Huckabee four years ago is any indication, I have no doubt they will be a terrific catalyst for our campaign as we continue building momentum in Iowa. Now is the time for conservatives to unite so we can defeat Barack Obama."

Hogan Gidley, National Communications Director said, "Conservatives are starting to recognize that Rick is the viable consistent conservative alternative to moderates like Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. Rick offers a clear contrast to Barack Obama on important issues like healthcare, individual mandates and TARP.   This endorsement like previous endorsements are clear indicators that Rick’s record of conservative victories are attracting those who want to beat this President and his radical liberal agenda.

The FAMiLY Leader has emerged as one of the nation’s most influential pro-family organizations.  In 2010, Rick Santorum was the only Republican Presidential contender to join the FAMilY Leader in their statewide campaign to oust Iowa Supreme Court justices who redefined marriage in Iowa.  The FAMiLY Leader has also been active in the 2012 presidential campaign, hosting a presidential forum in November 2011 where six of the leading Republican presidential candidates attended.

Rick Santorum has been a stalwart defender of the traditional family for two decades.  Santorum is the author of the law that banned partial birth abortions, the Unborn Victims of Violence Act, and the Born Alive Infant Protection Act to defend the unborn.  Santorum was the principal proponent of the Federal Marriage Amendment, forcing the only vote ever cast on the Amendment.  Rick Santorum was also the author of the Combating Autism Act to assist special-needs children afflicted with autism, the National Fatherhood Initiative, and the landmark 1996 Welfare Reform legislation that has helped millions of American families rise out of poverty.  In 2005, Santorum authored the New York Times Best-Selling book, "It Takes A Family."  Rick and his wife Karen are the proud homeschool parents of 7 children.

2nd Update: Video of the Vander Plaats/Hurley press conference (HT: IowaPolitics.com)

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