04/25/2012 08:41 pm ET Updated Apr 25, 2012

Rick Perry Endorses Mitt Romney For President

Rick Perry formally endorsed Mitt Romney for president on Wednesday, saying the former Massachusetts governor has "earned the nomination."

"Today I join the many conservative Republicans across the nation in endorsing Mitt Romney for president and pledge to him, my constituents and the Republican Party I will continue to work hard to help defeat President Obama," Perry said in a statement."

Perry's announcement came hours after reports that Newt Gingrich would end his campaign next week.

Perry, who dropped out of the presidential race in January, had previously endorsed the former House speaker.

"I believe Newt is a conservative visionary who can transform our country," Perry said in January. "Newt is not perfect, but who among us is?"

As the campaign wore on and Gingrich fell further into debt, Romney's lead over Gingrich looked increasingly insurmountable.

UPDATE: 9 p.m. -- Romney expressed gratitude for Perry's support on Twitter.

"Great to have @GovernorPerry's support. Looking forward to working with him -- a lot to be done before November."