In S. cerevisiae, the phosphate starvation (PHO) responsive transcription factors Pho4 and Pho2 are jointly required for induction of phosphate response genes and survival in phosphate starvation conditions. In the related human commensal and pathogen C. glabrata, Pho4 is required but Pho2 is dispensable for survival in phosphate-limited conditions and is only partially required for inducing the phosphate response genes. This reduced dependence on Pho2 evolved in C. glabrata and closely related species. Pho4 orthologs that are less dependent on Pho2 induce more genes when introduced into the S. cerevisiae background, and Pho4 in C. glabrata both binds to more sites and induces more genes with expanded functional roles compared to Pho4 in S. cerevisiae. Our work reveals an evolutionary mechanism for rapidly expanding the targets of a transcription factor by changing its dependence on a co-activator, potentially refining the physiological response it regulates.