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Billionaire Joins 2020 Race, With 2 Big Themes

Tom Steyer is in, with a focus on climate change and corporate influence in politics
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 9, 2019 8:53 AM CDT
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In this Jan. 9, 2019, file photo, billionaire investor and Democratic activist Tom Steyer speaks during a news conference where he announced his decision not to seek the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. He's changed his mind.   (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
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(Newser) – On Monday, the crowded 2020 Democratic field was thinned by one when Eric Swalwell dropped out. On Tuesday, yet another candidate made up for it by joining the race. Tom Steyer, described by NBC News as a "billionaire activist," made it official with this campaign launch video. His two big themes: climate change and curbing corporate influence on politics. Steyer had publicly ruled out a run in January, saying he wanted to instead keep his focus on helping impeach President Trump. Steyer, who made his money as a hedge fund manager, funds two political organizations—Need to Impeach and Next Gen America. The Washington Post expects him to lean heavily on both in an attempt to get 65,000 donors in a week in order to qualify for the second Democratic debate later this month.

"The other Democratic candidates for president have many great ideas that will absolutely move our country forward, but we won’t be able to get any of those done until we end the hostile corporate takeover of our democracy," says Steyer in a statement. "As an outsider, I’ve led grassroots efforts that have taken on big corporations and won results for people." The 62-year-old Californian amassed a $1.6 billion fortune through his Farallon Capital hedge fund, which he sold in 2012. One apparent reason for the change of heart about running in 2020: His backers tell the Post that he's been unsatisfied with the current crop of Democratic candidates. Trump has previously dismissed the pro-impeachment figure as a "weirdo." (Read more Tom Steyer stories.)

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