Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Amanda Curtis has named her campaign manager and also picked up a key endorsement Thursday from a national left-leaning political action committee.

Democracy for America, the Vermont-based PAC founded by former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, endorsed Curtis in her five-day-old campaign against Republican Steve Daines for Montana’s U.S. Senate seat. Libertarian Roger Roots also is in the race.

Curtis “is precisely the new, progressive hero Montana Democrats need” to defeat Daines, said Jim Dean, chairman of Democracy for America.

Democracy for America says it has 1 million members nationwide. The PAC contributes to candidates and has made a pitch to its nationwide membership to support Curtis with donations.

Curtis, 34, a state representative and high school math teacher from Butte, started her campaign Saturday, replacing Sen. John Walsh on the ballot. She began the race with virtually no money.

Walsh withdrew from the race in the wake of a plagiarism scandal about his 2007 master’s degree final paper at the U.S. Army War College.

On Wednesday evening, Curtis named Clayton Elliott of Billings as her new campaign manager.

Elliott, originally from Powell, Wyoming, currently is the lead lobbyist and community organizer for the Northern Plains Resource Council, an environmental, conservation and family-agriculture group that works on water-quality, agriculture and mining issues. He’ll become Curtis’ campaign manager next week.

Also Thursday, the Montana State Building and Construction Trades Council endorsed Curtis, saying she’ll support public investment in public infrastructure, which can create jobs.

The council is a federation of several labor unions, which were strong supporters of Curtis’ nomination as a candidate.

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