J.C. Watts, Jr., a former Republican congressman, is expected to endorse Newt Gingrich for president imminently. NBC News is reporting that Gingrich will secure the former Oklahoma representative’s endorsement in an announcement that is likely to be made later today.
Watts was elected to Congress in 1994, becoming the first African-American to win a statewide office in Oklahoma. Gingrich is famously credited with leading Republicans that election year to winning control of the House for the first time in 40 years, according to the New York Times. Gingrich then served as Speaker of the House for four years, although his tenure was mired with scandal.
Watt’s political career in Congress extended beyond Newt’s brief moment of Republican leadership in the House. During his eight years in Congress, Watts served as the Chairman of the House Republican Conference and on the House Armed Services Committee.
In his post-Congressional career, Watts started the consulting firm J.C. Watts Companies after retiring as a representative in 2003. J.C. Watts Companies works with corporate clients to represent their interests to “before domestic and international governments,” according to the firm’s web site.
In addition to Watts’ endorsement, Newt Gingrich has also secured the official support of the Manchester Union Leader, an influential conservative paper, in an announcement that Fox News called “a blow to rival Mitt Romney.”
Gingrich has also secured an endorsement from the controversial former pitcher of the Atlanta Braves, John Rocker, who is infamous for using racial slurs to criticize the racial diversity of the New York borough of Queens.