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July 14, 2020
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Tom Steyer returns to the fundraising circuit

Tom Steyer returns to the fundraising circuit
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Steyer has already shown an ability to unlock major donors for candidates. He’s helped lead an effort for the Biden campaign called Climate Leaders for Biden, that’s brought in $8.4 million in a pair of big-dollar virtual fundraisers — an effort that will persist.

He’ll also soon launch an interview series with down-ballot candidates to draw more eyes to their campaign, along with a digital operation to promote them. Steyer’s email list includes millions of people after growing out of Need to Impeach, the now-shuttered effort to push for President Donald Trump’s impeachment, and was refined by a $20 million-plus Facebook advertising blitz during his short-lived and expensive presidential campaign. (Joe Biden’s campaign only recently surpassed the total amount of money spent on Facebook ads that Steyer spent.)

“The political world has to go virtual, right, and has gone virtual,” Steyer said in an interview. “And so to the extent that we can help people and organize the donor community virtually, then that’s something that I can definitely see” continuing.

Steyer highlighted the fact that supporters on his list are tuned in to environmental and racial justice issues, something he talked about extensively on the campaign trail that has only gained in national prominence in the wake of nationwide protests.

Steyer spent $339 million, mostly from his own fortune, before dropping out of the presidential campaign in late February — the second most of the entire field.

Despite that, he came up almost entirely empty. His best finish was a distant third in South Carolina, and his debate performances will probably be best remembered for Will Ferrell’s parody of his intense, direct-to-camera stare on “Saturday Night Live.”

“It really does seem like a lifetime ago, doesn’t it?” Stever said of his presidential run. “I mean it seems like a decade ago. It’s a different reality.”

Steyer gave $3.7 million to NextGen in early May. Steyer said he will not be involved in the day-to-day operations of the group’s independent expenditure arm, citing his work with the Biden campaign and his role on California’s coronavirus recovery task force. But he said he’d do some work on the group’s coordinated efforts.

“I really feel as if we can have a huge impact this year, and I think that youth turnout is an absolute [necessity],” he said. “People under the age of 35: That’s the biggest generation in American history, bigger than the Boomers.”

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