BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Former Idaho GOP Schools Superintendent Jerry Evans has endorsed the Democratic gubernatorial candidate A.J. Balukoff rather than Republican incumbent Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.

Evans served as the elected statewide superintendent for four terms from 1979 to 1995. Despite being a lifelong Republican, Evans says that Idaho schools have been abandoned under Otter. Evans added that Balukoff has the support from public school leaders to improve the state's education system.

The surprise endorsement comes at the end of a busy week in Idaho's governor's race with the Republican Governor's Association throwing large amounts of cash at the Otter campaign, and then Otter praising the state's school system after a personal finance website reported Idaho's as a top teacher-friendly state.