Steyer Commits Another $2 Million to Gillum Campaign in Fla.

Mail campaign will connect Gillum to impeachment efforts against Trump

Tom Steyer / Getty Images
October 19, 2018

Billionaire political activist Tom Steyer is committing another $2 million in funding to support the gubernatorial candidacy of Andrew Gillum, the Democratic mayor of Tallahassee who surprised the political establishment by winning the party's nomination in August.

When added to Steyer's previous commitments of just over $5 million through his PAC, the latest contributions to Gillum likely make the candidate one of the largest single beneficiaries of Steyer's already massive efforts in the overall 2018 election.

"If you were going to choose a single race that has the most national significance, it would be the governor's race in Florida," Steyer was quoted as saying by CNN, which first reported the new commitment.

The contributions will flow through Forward Florida, a PAC that can accept unlimited funds on behalf of any candidate so long as there is no coordination between the PAC and the candidate's campaign.

Gillum faces former representative Ron DeSantis, who just finished one of his strongest fundraising weeks, hauling in $8.2 million.

Steyer's NextGen America PAC has also focused on registering college-aged voters on the assumption that they'll likely be progressive voters.

According to NextGen's stats, they report having knocked on over 89,000 "doors" and have netted a total of 50,000 new voter registrations in Florida, the highest number of new registrations his PAC has been able to achieve in any of the states in which it is active.

CNN also reports that the "Need to Impeach" campaign will be orchestrating a "massive direct mail pitch to 300,000 Florida voters" who have signed up to support impeachment efforts against President Trump.

"The mail piece makes specific reference to Gillum's support of impeachment," CNN reports.

A representative with Steyer's PAC, NextGen America, did not respond to a request for comment.

Steyer's support of Gillum via the Forward Florida committee came somewhat later in the election cycle, at least when compared to the original support from George Soros.

At a time in May when Gillum was struggling in both the polls and with fundraising, Soros contributed another $250,000 to Forward Florida, raising his total support of Gillum to $450,000.

A May report from the Tampa Bay Times noted that "Gillum's campaign continues to rely heavily on large donations to his PAC for fundraising."

"No matter who's cutting the checks, Gillum may now have the cash to battle Democratic opponents Gwen Graham, Philip Levine and Chris King well into the summer," the report predicted, which ultimately turned out to be true.

Shortly after winning the party nomination, Gillum thanked both of the progressive billionaires.

"I'll tell you, I'm obviously deeply appreciative of Mr. Soros, as well as Mr. Steyer, both men whom I've known for some time," he said on NBC's Meet the Press.

Like Steyer, Soros also has a side effort in the state he's been committed to. In May, the Hungarian-born investor donated $450,000 to a PAC called United for Progress, which, according to disclosure documents, is intended "to build community-based political power and influence in the growing Puerto Rican and Latino constituencies in Florida."