Indiana Republican defects from the party -- and throws her support behind a potential Dem gubernatorial candidate

Indiana State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick, a Republican, on Monday announced that she would be joining a potential Democratic gubernatorial candidate on his statewide listening tour.

State Senator Eddie Melton has formed an exploratory committee to consider a possible run for governor in 2020. The committee has been holding "Hoosier Community Conversations" town halls to discuss education and other issues.

"I am excited that Dr. McCormick will be joining our Hoosier Community Conversations and sharing her expertise and passion about education across the state with me," Melton said in a statement. "It is an honor to share this platform with Dr. McCormick, who has been an advocate for Indiana’s students and families."

McCormick added that she was "optimistic that a potential 2020 gubernatorial candidate has the foresight and the willingness to elevate educational issues and work collaboratively."

"This next election will direct the future of our state for generations to come. Decisions regarding the education of our children must be at the very heart of that future," she said.

Melton could potentially run against incumbent Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb, the former lieutenant governor of Indiana under Governor Mike Pence. Holcomb has yet to officially announce he's seeking a second term.