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Jeb Bush endorses Ted Cruz

PHOENIX, Arizona On the heels of a loss in Arizona and a win in Utah, Ted Cruz announced the endorsement of Jeb Bush on Wednesday -- yet another nudge at the Republican party to coalesce around the Texas senator as the alternative to GOP front-runner Donald Trump.

"For the sake of our party and country, we must move to overcome the divisiveness and vulgarity Donald Trump has brought into the political arena, or we will certainly lose our chance to defeat the Democratic nominee and reverse President Obama's failed policies," Bush wrote in a statement released by the Cruz campaign. "To win, Republicans need to make this election about proposing solutions to the many challenges we face, and I believe that we should vote for Ted as he will do just that."

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The former Florida governor dropped out of the race after a fourth place finish in the South Carolina primary.

"Ted is a consistent, principled conservative who has demonstrated the ability to appeal to voters and win primary contests," Bush continued. "Washington is broken, and the only way Republicans can hope to win back the White House and put our nation on a better path is to support a nominee who can articulate how conservative policies will help people rise up and reach their full potential."

Bush's support of Cruz was not unexpected: former Bush surrogate and campaign wingman, Senator Lindsey Graham, set off a media firestorm last week when he unexpectedly threw his support behind the Texas senator even after publicly expressing his distaste for his Texas colleague in the Senate.

There are family ties, too. Brother Neil Bush, a Houston businessman, and wife Maria signed on to Cruz's fundraising team earlier in the month. And George P. Bush, Jeb Bush's son and Texas Land Commissioner, endorsed Cruz in 2011, when he was Texas Solicitor General - and an underdog - running for the U.S. Senate.

In a statement, Cruz welcomed Bush's praise. "His endorsement today is further evidence that Republicans are continuing to unite behind our campaign to nominate a proven conservative to defeat Hillary Clinton in November, take back the White House, and ensure a freer and more prosperous America for future generations," he wrote.

Not every Bush is moving to get behind Cruz, though.

"I just don't like the guy," Cruz's former employer, George W. Bush, told donors at a fundraiser in the fall of 2015, according to a report by Politico. Cruz's previous alliance with Trump earlier in the cycle did not sit well with the former President who called Cruz "opportunistic," adding that he was "frustrated to have watched Cruz basically hijack the Republican Party of Texas and the Republican Party in Washington."

CBS News' Kathleen Johnston contributed to this report.

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