Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) early Monday announced his endorsement of Marco RubioMarco RubioGOP, Dems hear different things from Trump Senate committee to vote Monday on Tillerson Tillerson met with top State official: report MORE, backing the Republican presidential candidate on the eve of the Nevada caucuses.

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“I think it comes down to this: He’s strong, he’s also informed. He’s conservative and he’s electable and he can unite the party. And you can’t ask for much more than that. I think he’s got the total package,” Pawlenty, a former GOP presidential candidate himself, said of the Florida senator on CNN’s “New Day.”

“I think he’s going bring forward the strongest voice, the strongest image and really the most thoughtful and informed strong view about how to move this country forward from a conservative perspective,” Pawlenty added.

Pawlenty pushed back on the characterization of Rubio as the "establishment" candidate in the GOP race, instead describing the senator elected in a tea party wave as a "bona fide movement conservative."

The former governor is the latest politician to endorse Rubio after he edged out Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzTrump's America: Businessmen in, bureaucrats out When Trump says 'Make America Great Again,' he means it Booker is taking orders from corporate pharmaceuticals MORE (Texas) for second place in South Carolina over the weekend behind Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSanders to Trump: 'Women aren’t going back to second-class citizenship' Trump to speak with Netanyahu WikiLeaks: Send us Trump's tax returns so we can release them MORE.

Rubio picked up the backing of a pair of Nevada lawmakers on Sunday in a race that has winnowed following former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush departure after the South Carolina primary on Saturday.

Pawlenty's endorsement also comes ahead of the Minnesota caucuses on March 1.

--This report was updated at 7:34 a.m.