In late April, former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean began an effort to encourage Democratic donors to support Leticia Van De Putte’s Texas bid for lieutenant governor.
Using his political action committee Democracy for America, Dean is also raising awareness through online campaigning, something many politicos say Dean gave birth to during his 2004 presidential bid.
"Democracy for America has a great tech history," said Scott Remley, Van De Putte’s campaign manager. "I know they sent an email to their more than 30,000 members in Texas and we were able to get a lot of support out of that. People came and visited the website, Twitter and Facebook page."
The message was titled "Take Texas Back From the Tea Party," but some on the right have criticized campaigns like Van De Putte’s and the Wendy Davis campaign for governor for accepting outsider help.
Democracy for America immediately announced its support for Davis’ campaign following her announcement that she was running in the gubernatorial race, but waited six months before giving Van De Putte the same recognition.
Officials with Democracy for America say they held back to see if the lower profile campaign was capable of winning in a reliable red state. In January the Van De Putte campaign had less than $300,000 in donations in a race where her competitors will spend millions.