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Story highlights

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has endorsed Ted Cruz for president

"It's time for Republicans to join together and unite the party for the good of our state and our nation," Bryant said in a statement

(CNN) —  

Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant on Monday endorsed Ted Cruz for president on the eve of that state’s primary.

Bryant, elected in 2011, is the second state governor to back the Texas senator, who previously won the support of his home state governor, Greg Abbott, in addition to the governor or the territory of Guam, Eddie Calvo.

Those are the most senior Republican elected officials to have backed Cruz, who has yet to an endorsement from a fellow senator.

“It’s time for Republicans to join together and unite the party for the good of our state and our nation,” Bryant said in a statement. “I urge my fellow Mississippians to join me in standing behind Ted Cruz tomorrow.”

Cruz’s campaign has been bearish on its chances in Mississippi, with the campaign’s chief strategist Jason Johnson telling donors last week that it was surprisingly a “big question mark” given that it is more “populist than conservative.”

Campaigning near Jackson on Monday, Cruz called Mississippi a “battleground” and characterized GOP front-runner Donald Trump as his “leading competitor in this state.”

Cruz, under the weather, had canceled a rally he had planned to hold on Monday in Ellisville, the hometown of tea party hero and Mississippi state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who had been Cruz’s highest-profile surrogate in the state.

In addition to Mississippi, Republicans also vote on Tuesday in Hawaii, Idaho and Michigan vote Tuesday.