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 This page is no longer being updated.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
Pentagon tracking suspected Chinese spy balloon over the US
Updated 1:13 PM ET, Fri Feb 3, 2023
The US is tracking a suspected Chinese high-altitude surveillance balloon over the continental United States, defense officials said on Thursday, a discovery that risks adding further strain to tense US-China relations. Pentagon spokesman Brig. Gen. Patrick Ryder said the US government has been tracking the balloon for several days as it made its way over the northern United States, adding it was "traveling at an altitude well above commercial air traffic and does not present a military or physical threat to people on the ground." Speaking on background, a senior US defense official said senior military officials had advised President Joe Biden not to shoot it down due to fear the debris could pose a safety threat to people on the ground. "We are confident that this high-altitude surveillance balloon belongs to the [People's Republic of China]," the senior defense official said. "Instances of this activity have been observed over the past several years, including prior to this administration."
While the balloon's current flight path carries it over "a number of sensitive sites," the official said it does not present a significant intelligence gathering risk. The balloon is assessed to have "limited additive value" from an intelligence collection perspective, the official added. The US, the official said, is "taking steps nevertheless to protect against foreign intelligence collection of sensitive information. We are also tracking what abilities it could have in gaining insights, and continue to monitor the balloon as it was over the continental United States." On Friday, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said the balloon entered US airspace accidentally. "It is a civilian airship used for research, mainly meteorological, purposes. Affected by the Westerlies and with limited self-steering capability, the airship deviated far from its planned course. The Chinese side regrets the unintended entry of the airship into US airspace due to force majeure," the spokesperson said in a statement. The US believes Chinese spy satellites in low Earth orbit are capable of offering similar or better intelligence, limiting the value of whatever Beijing can glean from the high-altitude balloon, which is the size of three buses, according to another defense official. "It does not create significant value added over and above what the PRC is likely able to collect through things like satellites in low Earth orbit," the senior defense official said. The US government has engaged with the Chinese government both through the Chinese embassy in Washington and the US diplomatic mission in China, according to the official. US national security officials have constantly warned about Chinese espionage efforts and the balloon's presence in the US comes at a sensitive moment with Secretary of State Antony Blinken expected to travel to Beijing in the coming days, a significant trip meant to follow up on President Joe Biden's meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping last year. Josh Lipsky, senior director of the Atlantic Council's GeoEconomics Center, said it is clear the US wanted to make China aware that it knew about the balloon before Blinken landed in China. "It sets the stage for [an] extraordinarily tense meeting between Blinken and Qin Gang," Lipsky said, referring to the Chinese foreign minister. "It puts Chinese officials on the backfoot heading into the meetings." Biden has declared China "America's most consequential geopolitical challenge" and competition between the two global superpowers is intense. Tensions have flared in recent years over the self-governing island of Taiwan, China's human rights record and its military activities in the South China Sea, among a host of other issues. China's Foreign Ministry said Friday it was aware of reports of the incident but warned against "deliberate speculation." "[We] are trying to understand the circumstances and verify the details of the situation. I'd like to stress that before it becomes clear what happened, any deliberate speculation or hyping up would not help handling of the matter," ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said at a regular news conference, in response to CNN's query. "China is a responsible country. We act in accordance with international law. We have no intention in violating other countries' airspace. We hope relevant parties would handle the matter in a cool-headed way." Meanwhile, Canada said on Thursday evening it is also tracking the balloon's movements and working with their American partners, including the monitoring of a potential second incident. Biden was briefed and took advice not to shoot balloon down Officials tell CNN that congressional leaders and Biden have been briefed on the balloon's movements, and the president requested military options on how to deal with it. Biden took Milley's advice not to order the balloon shot down and the official stressed that it does not pose a military threat emphasizing that the administration acted "immediately" to protect against the collection of sensitive information. The senior defense official mentioned reports from Wednesday about a "ground stop" at Billings Airport in Montana, and the "mobilization of assets, including F-22s." "The context for that was, it would put some things on station in the event that a decision was made to bring this down while it was over Montana," the official said. "So we wanted to make sure we were coordinating with civil authorities to empty out the airspace around that potential area." However, it was ultimately the "strong recommendation" of senior military leaders, including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, not to shoot it down due to the risk to safety of people on the ground. "Why not shoot it down? We have to do the risk-reward here," the official said. "So the first question is, does it pose a threat, a physical kinetic threat, to individuals in the United States in the US homeland? Our assessment is it does not. Does it pose a threat to civilian aviation? Our assessment is it does not. Does it pose a significantly enhanced threat on the intelligence side? Our best assessment right now is that it does not. So given that profile, we assess the risk of downing it, even if the probability is low in a sparsely populated area of the debris falling and hurting someone or damaging property, that it wasn't worth it." Montana is home to fields of underground Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile silos, one potential target for Chinese espionage. The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson said on Friday that Chinese officials would "continue communicating with the US side and properly handled this unexpected situation." The senior defense official said on Thursday that if the risk level changes, the US "will have options to deal with this balloon." We have communicated to [Chinese officials] the seriousness with which we take this issue. ... But we have made clear we will do whatever is necessary to protect our people and our homeland." This story is been updated with additional developments.