Note: This story was updated at 8:45 p.m. to correct information about the Hullco sale in 2021.
U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Chattanooga, has endorsed Matt Hullander in the race for Hamilton County mayor.
Fleischmann's campaign announced the endorsement for Hullander, also a Chattanooga Republican, in a Wednesday news release. The congressman in a statement said Hullander was "exactly the leader we need to deliver for the people of Hamilton County."
"Matt Hullander is clearly the best choice to lead Hamilton County," Fleischmann said. "In today's political climate, it is rare to find a person with the character, business acumen and devotion to Hamilton County which I see in Matt. Over the years I've watched Matt grow in his personal and professional life, expanding the Hullco business enterprise and taking the Hullander name into new ventures for the benefit of our community. He holds the skills and temperament to succeed, and I believe he will lead our community in an exemplary form."
Hullander bought the family home improvement business, Hullco, from his father in 2007 and sold it in 2021 for an undisclosed amount. His father, Bill Hullander, was elected county trustee in 2010. The office serves as county treasurer and tax collector.
Fleischmann's campaign did not respond to requests for an interview with the congressman.
"I have been a supporter of Chuck for a number of years, and we actually used to work together when he was an attorney and I was one of his clients," Hullander said Wednesday in an interview. "We've known each other a long time, and I look forward to working with him as mayor."
Where Hamilton County Mayor candidates stand with fundraising as of end of 2021
— Matt Hullander, R: Raised $255,977; $208,268 cash on hand.
— Sabrena Smedley, R: Raised $202,260; $201,808 cash on hand.
— Weston Wamp, R: Raised $232,321; $214,390 cash on hand.
The endorsement is the second of its kind for Hullander of late.
Last month, Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond also endorsed Hullander in the heated race that also includes Hamilton County Commission chair Sabrena Smedley, R-Ooltewah, and Weston Wamp, R-Chattanooga. The union representing Hamilton County sheriff's deputies and Chattanooga police officers has endorsed Smedley
The voter registration deadline for the May 3 primary election is April 4.
Early voting will take place between April 13 and April 28, and the deadline to request an absentee ballot is April 26.
The winner of the primary will go on to a general election in August.
Staff writer Dave Flessner contributed to this report.