Tom Steyer dropped out of the presidential race on February 29, 2020. This page is no longer being updated.
Steyer has been a funding force in Democratic politics in recent years, bankrolling candidates and organizations that promote a liberal agenda. He jumped into the race in July after funding an effort to pressure Congress into impeaching Trump.
Yale University, B.A., 1979; Stanford Business School, MBA, 1983
June 27, 1957
Samuel, Charles, Evelyn and Henry
Founder, Farallon Capital Management, 1986-2012; Partner, Hellman and Friedman, 1985-1986; Associate, Goldman Sachs, 1983-1985; Financial analyst, Morgan Stanley, 1979-1981
STEYER IN THE NEWS
Tom Steyer ends 2020 presidential campaign
Updated 10:17 PM ET, Sat Feb 29, 2020
Tom Steyer ended his presidential campaign on Saturday night after the billionaire businessman failed to gain traction in a large field of Democratic candidates. Steyer exited the race after he failed to claim victory in South Carolina, a state he invested heavily in, hoping it would turn around his sputtering run. "I said if I didn't see a path to winning that I'd suspend my campaign," he said. "And honestly, I can't see a path where I can win the presidency." The businessman's decision comes after disappointing showings in the race's first three contests in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. In Nevada, Steyer outspent the rest of the Democratic field on advertisements by more than $13 million. Visit CNN's Election Center for full coverage of the 2020 race Steyer spent more than $200 million on advertising for his presidential campaign, and contributed about $155 million in the fourth quarter of 2019. But the power of Steyer's money was partially blunted late in his campaign by the entrance of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has spent more than $500 million on ads in a few short months, effectively watering down Steyer's omnipresence. Steyer spent considerable time and money in South Carolina, and there were signs his investment was paying off. The billionaire businessman spent more than $22 million on television and radio ads in the state, hoping that direct and persistent outreach to black voters could cut into former Vice President Joe Biden's strength with the powerful voting bloc. A recent Monmouth University poll found Steyer at 15% in the state, neck-and-neck with the race's front-runner Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and behind Biden. Steyer said he supports reparations for African Americans, and pledged he would, if elected, establish a commission on race led by African Americans aimed at coming up with solutions. Before officially launching his campaign in July, Steyer operated as a funding force in Democratic politics. He spent millions bankrolling candidates and organizations that promoted liberal causes and the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Steyer starred in self-funded television commercials calling for Congress to remove Trump from office. Those ads were powerful in the early states, where voters who backed Steyer said they liked the fact that he spearheaded the impeachment effort. The longtime Democratic donor, whose net worth reached $1.6 billion this year according to Forbes, said he would make tackling the global climate crisis a top priority of his administration and vowed to combat what he called the "undue influence" of corporate power on the US economy. He called for a $15 minimum wage, congressional term limits and the repeal of Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court decision that eased restrictions on corporate campaign spending. Steyer said he would repeal the Trump tax cuts and install a 1% wealth tax on those whose net worth is above $32 million. Steyer broke with progressive leaders on "Medicare for All," and said he would prefer to build on the current system, as it exists under the Affordable Care Act, and push for a public option, or a government-backed insurance plan. In the end, though, Steyer's campaign became a case study of how even hundreds of millions in personal spending cannot directly lead to success in a presidential election. Steyer did get a burst of attention in the final days of his campaign, turning in his most aggressive debate performance on Tuesday. And on the eve of the South Carolina primary, a video of Steyer dancing onstage with rapper Juvenile at an event in South Carolina went viral.
Steyer, a longtime Democratic donor, established himself as a leading force on climate change with a $100 million campaign in the 2014 midterm elections through the advocacy group NextGen Climate, which was positioned as a foil to the oil and gas industry – specifically to the donor network established by billionaire conservative brothers Charles and David Koch. As a presidential candidate, Steyer says he would declare a national emergency on his first day in office over the climate crisis and use executive action to achieve his goals, including a clean-energy system with net-zero “global warming pollution” by 2045. Steyer would also stop the issuance of new leases for mining and drilling and would wind down existing production on federal land and offshore. Like other candidates, Steyer ties his climate plans to job creation, promising 1 million jobs. He calls for $2 trillion in federal funding over 10 years for infrastructure, which includes transportation as well as “water, operational systems, the energy grid, farms and rural development, building retrofits, maintenance, affordable housing, universal broadband, and more.” He also calls for issuing $250 billion in “climate bonds” over 10 years and investing $50 billion in programs to support miners and other “fossil fuel workers.” Steyer says he would keep the US in the Paris climate agreement, a landmark 2015 deal on global warming targets that Trump has pledged to abandon, as well as other international alliances and United Nations agreements aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change. More on Steyer’s climate crisis policy
Steyer’s initial focus was his $2 trillion energy infrastructure investment plan, which he says would in turn unleash “trillions” more in private capital investment. He would also create what he calls “Green New Deal investment zones.” In October 2019, he released a new economic agenda aimed at “ensuring that economic power rests with the American people, not big corporations.” To address what Steyer calls the “undue influence” of corporate power on the US economy, his plan calls for a $15 minimum wage, along with congressional term limits and the overturning of Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court decision that eased restrictions on corporate campaign spending. Steyer says he would repeal the Trump tax cuts and install a 1% wealth tax on those whose net worth is above $32 million. But he said he favors regulation over moving to greater government control over parts of the economy. “I’m a progressive and a capitalist, but unchecked capitalism produces market failures and economic inequities,” Steyer said in a news release outlining the plan. “The people must be in charge of our economy — but socialism isn’t the answer.” Steyer has declared a right to a living wage as part of his “5 Rights” platform. He pledges in his climate plan to reward companies that follow fair labor practices and hire union workers. More on Steyer’s economic policy
Steyer calls on his website for providing “free, quality, public education” from preschool through college “and on to skills training.” More on Steyer’s education policy
After the 2018 Parkland, Florida, school shooting, Steyer pledged $1 million for a voter registration drive in cooperation with two gun-control advocacy groups – Everytown for Gun Safety and former Congresswoman Gabby Giffords’ organization. At the time, Steyer accused the Republican Party and Trump of “putting NRA money ahead of the lives of Americans.” In August 2019, after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, Steyer again expressed opposition to the National Rifle Association and called for “mandatory background checks” in an interview with PBS.
Steyer supports universal health care, including it as one of his “5 Rights.” That includes coverage for undocumented immigrants, he said in an interview with CBS in July 2019. He tweeted in late July 2019 that “universal health care must be a right—not a privilege—so everyone has the chance to live a healthy life, and our government needs to act to protect the foundations of our health.” More on Steyer’s health care policy
Gunman in Texas school massacre emerged from closet as Border Patrol agents moved in, source says
Updated 12:21 AM ET, Sat May 28, 2022
The teenage gunman in a Uvalde, Texas, elementary school came out of a classroom closet and began firing when US Border Patrol agents entered the room more than an hour after the shooter began his rampage, a source familiar with the situation told CNN on Friday. The agents were part of a team that fatally shot the gunman, ending an attack that left 19 fourth-graders and two adults dead Tuesday afternoon. Before the assault on the shooter, a group of 19 law enforcement officers stood in a hallway outside the classroom and took no action as they waited for room keys and tactical equipment, a state official said at a news conference. "The on-scene commander at that time believed that it had transitioned from an active shooter to a barricaded subject," Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Col. Steven McCraw said. The gunman was killed more than an hour after he started shooting inside Robb Elementary School. Members of a specialized Border Patrol unit had entered the classroom, with one holding a shield followed by at least two others who engaged the shooter, according to a US Customs and Border Protection official. The gunman is believed to have waited for the agents to enter the room, then kicked open the closet door and began shooting, the source said. The agents had used a key to get into the classroom, opening the door while standing off to the side since the gunman had been shooting through the door, the source said. The Washington Post first reported the detail on the gunman emerging from the classroom closet. The timeline of events that were part of the law enforcement response became more clear and more disturbing to the victims' families Friday as McCraw explained the school district police chief was the incident commander who made the decision not to breach the classroom door. Yet as officers stood in the hallway, children inside Robb Elementary School classrooms 111 and 112 in Uvalde repeatedly called 911 and pleaded for help, he said. They were in the middle of the deadliest school shooting since the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre. "From the benefit of hindsight where I'm sitting now, of course it was not the right decision," McCraw said of the supervisor's call not to confront the shooter. "It was the wrong decision. Period. There's no excuse for that." LATEST UPDATES ON THE UVALDE SCHOOL SHOOTING The official who was the school district police chief, Pedro "Pete" Arredondo, officials said Friday. Arredondo has nearly three decades of law enforcement experience, according to the school district, and was recently elected to a seat on Uvalde's city council. He previously served as a captain at a school district police department in Laredo, Texas, and in multiple roles at the Uvalde Police Department. Arredondo has not spoken about the shooting publicly since two very brief press statements on the day of the tragedy. CNN attempted to reach him at his home on Friday, but there was no response. In all, 80 minutes passed between when officers were first called to the school at 11:30 a.m. to when a tactical team entered locked classrooms and killed the gunman at 12:50 p.m., McCraw said. The tactical team was able to enter using keys from a janitor, he added. Within that period, 18-year-old Salvador Ramos killed 19 children and two teachers -- marking at least the 30th shooting at a K-12 school in 2022. And while, as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said, the massacre could have been worse, the law enforcement response suggests it could have been better. The delayed response runs contrary to commonly taught active shooter protocol, established after the Columbine school shooting of 1999, to stop the shooter as quickly as possible and even bypass helping the injured. The revelations also help explain why officials have offered contradictory information over the past three days as to what law enforcement did in response. "The levels of failure are just incredible, beyond belief," said Anthony Barksdale, the former acting Baltimore police commissioner. Alfred Garza, the father of 10-year-old Amerie Jo Garza, who was killed in the attack, said he believes someone should be held accountable for the delayed response. "They should have reacted quicker, faster," he said. "Had they done that? You know, maybe we would have a different result." Governor livid over misinformation Gov. Abbott told reporters Friday he was misled by authorities the day after the shooting, and he is livid. Abbott said he took careful notes from his briefing on Wednesday, calling what he told the public "a recitation of what people in that room told me." He added, "As everybody has learned, the information that I was given turned out, in part, to be inaccurate, and I'm absolutely livid about that." The governor was in Uvalde for a news conference about the state response for the families of those affected by the shooting, but reporters pressed Abbott on the law enforcement response and the information given to the public about the shooting. "My expectation is the law enforcement leaders that are leading the investigations ... they get to the bottom of every fact with absolute certainty," he said. Abbott said the people who deserve accurate answers the most are the families whose "lives have been destroyed." "It is inexcusable that they may have suffered from any inaccurate information whatsoever," he said. School back door had been propped open McCraw also revealed further details about how the gunman was able to enter the school unobstructed. The suspect, Ramos, first shot his grandmother at her home, took her truck and crashed into a ditch near the school at 11:28 a.m. He exited the vehicle with a long rifle and ammo and shot at two men across the street, missing them, McCraw said. A schoolteacher who had propped open a locked back door a minute earlier saw the crash and gunman and went to call 911 -- leaving the door propped. That 911 call came at 11:30 a.m. The gunman then moved toward the school parking lot and began shooting into classroom windows, McCraw said. A school resource officer, who was not on campus at the time, heard the 911 call and rushed to the school but drove past the suspect, who was hunkered down behind a vehicle, McCraw said. The suspect then entered the school via the propped door at 11:33 a.m. and went to the adjoining classrooms 111 and 112, where he continued shooting, McCraw said. Two minutes later, seven officers arrived to the school and approached the locked classrooms where the gunman had barricaded himself. Two of the officers were shot by the suspect from behind the door and suffered graze wounds, McCraw said. The gunman fired 16 more rounds inside the locked classrooms between 11:37 and 11:44 a.m., and more officers continued to arrive to the hallway, McCraw said. At about the same time, the Robb Elementary School posted on its Facebook that the school was on lockdown due to gunshots in the area. Outside the school, distraught parents soon began to arrive, desperate to know whether their kids were still alive, leading to confrontations with police trying to set up a perimeter. Inside the school, there were as many as 19 law enforcement officers in the hallway at 12:03 p.m., yet they remained outside and waited for further tactical team and equipment, McGraw said. That very minute, at 12:03 p.m., police received a 911 call from a girl who identified herself and whispered she's in Room 112, McCraw said. She stayed on the phone for 1 minute, 23 seconds. At 12:10 p.m. she called back and said there were multiple people dead. She called again three minutes later. Members of the Border Patrol tactical team, known as BORTAC, arrived with shields at 12:15 p.m. There they waited. The girl called again at 12:16 p.m. and said there were eight to nine students alive, McGraw said. Another student called 911 from Room 111 three minutes later but hung up at the urging of another student. On a 911 call at 12:21 p.m., three shots can be heard, he said. The gunman had fired over 100 rounds in the first minutes of the shooting, but the gunfire after that was sporadic and aimed at the door, McCraw said. "The belief was that there may not be anybody living anymore and that the subject has now tried to keep law enforcement at bay or entice them to come in to (die by) suicide," he said. A female student called 911 at 12:36 p.m. that lasted for 21 seconds, but then called back and was told to stay on the line and remain quiet. At 12:43 p.m. and 12:47 p.m. she asked 911 to please send police now. Finally, at 12:50 p.m., the tactical team entered the room and shot and killed the suspect. Surviving children describe what happened inside Children who survived the shooting described what happened inside the school during the mayhem. To survive the nightmare, Miah Cerrillo, 11, smeared her friend's blood all over herself and played dead, she told CNN. Miah and her classmates were watching the movie "Lilo and Stitch" when teachers Eva Mireles and Irma Garcia got word of a shooter in the building. One teacher went to lock the door, but the shooter was right there -- and shot out the door's window, Miah said. As her teacher backed into the classroom, the gunman followed. He then looked a teacher in the eye, said "Goodnight," and shot her, the girl recalled. And then he opened fire, shooting the other teacher and many of Miah's friends. Bullets flew by her, Miah said, and fragments hit her shoulders and head. The gunman next went through a door into an adjoining classroom. Miah heard screams and more gunshots. When the firing stopped, the shooter started playing music that was "sad, like you want people to die," the girl said. Scared he would come back to kill her and her few surviving friends, Miah put her hands into the blood of a slain friend lying next to her and smeared herself with it, she said. The girl and a friend managed to grab a dead teacher's phone and call 911 for help, she said. She told a dispatcher, "Please send help because we're in trouble." The pair then lay down and played dead. Another student in a different classroom, 10-year-old Jayden Perez, said when he and his classmates heard gunfire, his teacher locked the door and told them to "hide and be quiet." Jayden said he was hiding near the storage area for backpacks during the shooting. Others in his class were under a table. The entire time, he wondered what was going to happen to them. "It was very terrifying because I never thought that was going to happen," he told CNN. "(I'm) still sad about some of my friends that died." He does not want to go back to school again. "No, because after what happened. I don't want to. I don't want anything to do with another shooting or me in the school," he said. "And I know it might happen again, probably." Parents outside school begged for action Outside the school, chaos and confusion reigned as distraught parents showed up and implo