Outspoken billionaire Tom Steyer is not running for office in 2018 — but he’s not sitting on the sidelines, either.
Speaking about his immediate political future in Washington, D.C. on Monday, the hedge fund manager and Democratic donor said that instead of pursuing his own candidacy in the midterm elections, he would invest $30 million to spur progressive activism and voter turnout among youth voters through NextGen America, the organization he founded in 2013.
“I believe that the most important task for me, the task that I feel called to do . . . is organizing and mobilizing America’s voters.” Steyer said, arguing that he could make a bigger difference through activism rather than running for office. “2018 is going to be a straightforward debate between two radically different visions of America. I’m going spend it rallying Americans behind our vision — a just, inclusive, prosperous America.”
“My fight is in removing Donald Trump from office and from power,” Steyer added, his comments coming amid rumblings that he would pursue a political bid of his own. “And that starts with taking the House back.”
The money, he said, would be used in elections across ten states: Arizona, California, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. Several of those stand to factor mightily during the 2020 election.
Steyer also said that he would continue to “redouble” his efforts to promote the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Late last year, Steyer spent millions of dollars to run an ad arguing for Trump’s impeachment, and started a petition that has garnered over 4 million signatures. Trump, in turn, called Steyer “wacky and totally unhinged.”
Steyer did not specify how much money he would be putting in the new campaign. He did, however, explain that he would expand this effort to include political activism beyond the steps he has already taken—like giving complementary copies of “Fire and Fury,” journalist Michael Wolff’s explosive account of the internal workings of the Trump administration, to various members of Congress.
While Steyer definitively ruled out a political candidacy in 2018, he left the door open for future possibilities. When asked about the 2020 elections—and who he could support—he declined to look beyond the immediate horizon of the midterm elections. “We are all in for November 6, 2018,” he said. “We feel as if this is a must-win situation for us, and we are not focused on anything starting on November 7, 2018.”