A political action committee founded by former Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Governor Howard Dean is backing Shelli Yoder in Indiana’s Ninth Congressional District race.
Democracy for America unveiled six key races for Congress on Wednesday that the organization will focus on in the 2012 election. The PAC is aimed at building a dozen “progressive powerhouse” in the House and this is the first crop attempting to give Democratic challengers a booster in their general election bids.
Yoder is challenging Republican incumbent Todd Young, but has struggled to keep face with the GOP freshman's fundraising totals.
She says it is an honor to receive Dean’s support and she hopes it will give her campaign a boost.
“We are continuing to work hard and we’re doing everything we can to win back this seat. I think that the 9th District, folks weren’t really paying attention to the race. But in the last few weeks we’ve certainly have work as hard as we can making sure that voters feel like they will have a voice and an opportunity to gain back that voice come November 6,” he says.
Dean’s PAC has agreed to help raise an additional $20,000 in small donations from its national membership and make a contribution of $5,000. The group will also commit its members to help Yoder get out the vote on Election Day.
Yoder is a former Miss Indiana and a political newcomer who had an upset victory in the Democratic primary. In at least check her campaign had around $73,000 in cash on hand, compared to the nearly $900,000 in Young’s coffers.
Thus far, her campaign has tried to gain attention by crisscrossing the southern Indiana area while challenging Young to 13 different debates across counties in the district.
Yoder says her campaign will be meeting with Young's late next week to negotiate the details, but that this announcement is a “game changer” for her bid.
“I would hope that in hearing the news that people can also celebrate, regardless of where you fall on party lines, and you can say, ‘Wow. This is exciting to know that the American people once again have a say in democracy and not just the dollar bill,'” she says.
The Young campaign declined to comment for this story.