Government

Tom Steyer to announce political plans in Iowa on Wednesday

Tom Steyer speaks at a tour stop at the Shores Event Center in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, May 10, 2018. Steyer has been traveling across the country making the case for the impeachment of President Donald Trump. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Tom Steyer speaks at a tour stop at the Shores Event Center in Cedar Rapids on Thursday, May 10, 2018. Steyer has been traveling across the country making the case for the impeachment of President Donald Trump. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Tom Steyer, who invested $120 million in the 2018 midterm elections and leads a national campaign calling for President Donald Trump’s impeachment, plans to announce his political plans Wednesday in Des Moines.

Steyer, a California billionaire hedge fund manager and philanthropist, will be in Iowa for a town hall meeting on his “5 Rights” campaign. He’s also running more than $435,000 in advertising for his Need to Impeach campaign on Iowa television stations this week.

Steyer, 61, has worked on presidential campaigns for Walter Mondale, Bill Bradley and John Kerry, was an early supporter of Hillary Clinton and was one of Barack Obama’s top fundraisers. He’s hinted at running for president in 2020.

A proponent of renewable energy and an opponent of the Keystone pipeline, Steyer delivered a speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention warning of the stark choices the nation faces regarding energy.

He’s been the driving force and underwriter of campaigns for alternative energy and an effort to increase millennials’ participation in politics and elections through the NextGen America organization.

He considered running for governor of California, going so far as polling to test his strengths. He passed on that race, but has not ruled out a presidential bid.

With a net worth of $1.6 billion, according to Forbes, as well as an email list of more than 6 million reaped from his $50 million Need to Impeach campaign and NextGen’s voter lists, Steyer would have the resources to launch a campaign.

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His “5 Rights” — the right to an equal vote, to clean air and water, to learn with pre-K education through college, to a living wage, and to health — could form the basis of a presidential candidate platform.

Steyer’s $2 million NextGen effort in Iowa also gives him extensive contacts in the first-in-the-nation state. NextGen had 58 staffers on the ground in Iowa ahead of the 2018 election knocking on 63,000 doors, sending more than 613,000 text messages, registering 14,243 voters and had programs on 41 campuses.

Steyer’s news conference will be at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Hilton Des Moines Downtown.

l Comments: (319) 398-8375; james.lynch@thegazette.com

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