Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer said Thursday he will put more than $7.5 million into an effort to register and turn out young voters in eight states ahead of the mid-term elections, while remaining mum about his own political ambitions.
Through his NextGen Climate group, Steyer told POLITICO he will spend $7.5 million this year in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nevada and California, with an expectation that he will spend more money organizing young voters in those states in 2018.
“It’s our goal to engage them, inform them and, you know, in traditional American ways of grassroots organizing, get them involved in the system so their voices and votes can be counted,” Steyer said.
The program is expected to begin in earnest this fall on more than 200 college campuses, including in Virginia, where NextGen plans to hire more than a dozen full-time field organizers. Steyer said his group is already organizing young voters in Virginia, Pennsylvania and California.
Steyer, a California Democrat, has spent tens of millions of dollars on climate-related initiatives and other liberal causes, and in recent weeks he has called for President Donald Trump’s impeachment.
The former hedge fund manager has also considered running for elected office himself. He is a potential candidate for California governor or U.S. Senate if Sen. Dianne Feinstein retires.
Asked about recent polling he has done in California testing his viability for a gubernatorial run, Steyer’s spokesman interjected, jokingly, “We’ve got to jump on the next call here.”
Steyer said, “I feel I have more time to make the decision.”