Rick Santorum on Saturday won a key endorsement from socially conservative leaders meeting in Texas.

According to The New York Times, Santorum was the overwhelming favorite of the more than 100 influential Christian conservatives attending the meeting.

Campaigning in South Carolina, Santorum said of the endorsement: “They've looked at not just what we've been able to accomplish during this primary season so far. But they've looked at the track record of someone that's been a strong, consistent voice across the board on all the conservative issues.”

Backing the gathering are some of the nation's most virulent opponents of gay rights, including the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the Family Research Council (FRC) and the American Family Association (AFA).

“There is a hope and an expectation that this will have an impact on South Carolina,” FRC President Tony Perkins told reporters.

Santorum placed second behind Mitt Romney in Iowa, but the win didn't translate into much in New Hampshire, where he came in fifth. Santorum is pinning his hopes on South Carolina, where a majority of voters in 2008 said in exit polling that they consider themselves “born again” or evangelical Christians.