Shelby County superintendent endorses the republican candidate for governor

SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. -- The Shelby County Schools superintendent picked a side in the gubernatorial race, and political pundits say that's unusual.

"Dorsey Hopson who is in fact supporting my campaign," announced Bill Lee at a debate Thursday.

Lee is the republican candidate for Tennessee governor.

He followed up on Twitter by writing, "Honored to have the support of Superintendent Dorsey Hopson."

"I was very surprised. Very surprised. My understanding is Dorsey Hopson is a democrat, and I would have expected him to support the democratic nominee or stay neutral at the least," said Steve Mulroy, a law professor at the University of Memphis.

Mulroy said it's unusual for a superintendent to endorse a candidate.

"This superintendent hasn't done so in the past that I know of. It's not typical for superintendents to endorse. It's not unheard of, but it's not the norm I don't think," he said.

Superintendents are appointed positions, which is why Mulroy said they typically stay neutral.

They don't want to make it harder on the district later on.

"They are going to need to get funding from a legislature and will need to work with both democrats and republicans in doing so," said Mulroy.

WREG reached out to Hopson several times, but have yet to hear back as of Thursday afternoon.

However, the Commercial Appeal said it received this statement, "I have developed a strong personal relationship with bill lee over the last year and 1/2."

Hopson went on to write, "He recently asked me to represent West Tennessee as a part of his education coalition. I am excited to be one of bill's thought partners in the education space and equally excited to be a voice for Memphis as Bill shapes his education policies."

He ended by saying he's not angling for a job or take a run at a political office.