Out of a shared office space in Brooklyn and through a network of phone calls and emails, political operatives behind a group called Draft Beto have raised $20,000 from 450 donors and parked the money in an account waiting for the former congressman and Senate candidate from Texas to announce a presidential campaign, probably on Facebook Live, his preferred outlet. The email list is already up to 6,000. House parties have been going on for the past few weeks.

For someone who would get into a presidential race without much buildup or preparation, that could be an important head start.

“What we’re doing,” said Boyd Brown, a former South Carolina state legislator and active Democrat who’s now working with the group, “is essentially building a campaign to hand over to him in the event he runs.”