Democrats Bash Steyer’s Presidential Run

'I wish he wouldn't do it. Especially at this late date'

Tom Steyer / Getty Images
July 23, 2019

Democratic lawmakers are not pleased with billionaire activist Tom Steyer's long-shot bid for the presidential nomination, according to reporting by Politico's Burgess Everett and Heather Caygle.

Interviews with Democratic senators and representatives revealed significant resentment toward Steyer for his practice of using his wealth to pressure lawmakers that have not advocated for impeaching President Trump.

Steyer, who also stresses climate change as part of his platform, has spent millions targeting House Democrats, including Jerry Nadler and Elijah Cummings, to pressure them to pursue impeachment.

"Do I think he's wasting his money on [impeachment] ads against me? Yes," Rep. Debbie Dingell (D., Mich.) told Politico.

Some Democrats are also wary of another candidate entering the already crowded presidential primary race. Several senators openly questioned Steyer's decision to enter the race.

Sen. Doug Jones (D., Ala.) told Politico "I wish he wouldn't do it. Especially at this late date," and Sen. Tim Kaine (D., Virg.) said "I kind of wonder why?" Sen. Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) wrote Steyer off as "another white guy in the race."

Some presidential candidates spoke against Steyer's presidential bid. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D., Mass.) in interviews with Politico both attacked Steyer's strategy of using his vast personal wealth to impact the race and potentially secure a spot on a debate stage.

"All campaigns should be grassroots funded in a primary," Warren said. Gabbard affirmed that "people's votes can't be bought."

Earlier in July, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) said on MSNBC that he was "not a big fan" of billionaires like Steyer "getting involved in the political process."

Steyer is not entirely without support from prominent Democratic lawmakers. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D., R.I.) told Politico he appreciated Steyer's substantial emphasis on climate issues.

"As a climate hawk, I think it's good for climate. I don’t think Jay Inslee has got much traction," Whitehouse said.