Liberal megadonor Tom Steyer announced a million dollar investment on Monday to register young voters in Virginia ahead of November’s state legislative elections.
Steyer's seven-figure contribution to NextGen America, the political action committee he founded in 2013 focused on supporting candidates who pledge to combat climate change, will primarily be targeted towards registering voters in eleven legislative districts currently held by Republicans.
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Republicans hold narrow majorities in both the House of Delegates and the state Senate and Democrats have raised expectations that they could gain control of both chambers in November, giving them full control of the state's government for the first time since the early 1990s.
"This is a specific focus on the two chambers of the legislature, and each one of them can turn blue this year," Steyer said upon the announcement. "Obviously, that’s something that would be incredibly important."
The 2019 legislative elections in Virginia will have an outsized impact on the state as the party in charge will play a major role in determining legislative and congressional district lines after the 2020 census.
"We also understand that for us to win, and for Democrats to expand, we really can’t come and go when it suits us. We have to actually be part of the community," Steyer added. His group has 19 full-time staff members and boasts a list of 1,500 volunteers throughout the state.
Steyer has been actively involved in funding campaigns in the state over the past few election cycles. A spokesperson for his political operation told the Washington Post, Steyer has contributed $13 million to Democratic causes or candidates in Virginia since 2013.
The most recent investment will target younger voters with messages invoking climate change, a major focus of Steyer’s political advocacy, as well as other progressive issues such as gun control and abortion rights. The eleven target districts include five Senate districts and six House of Delegates that are predominantly near college campuses including the district of current House Speaker Kirk Cox.
NextGen America will also participate and encourage a "Give Green" campaign which will seek to direct Democratic donors throughout the country to give to a select number of Virginia legislative candidates.
Steyer, who considered running for president earlier this year, has become a major donor to progressive causes in recent years. In 2018, he spent over $200 million to help Democrats win a majority in the House of Representatives and he has personally led an effort to impeach President Trump, including running television advertisements of himself making the case to Democratic politicians why they should impeach the 45th president.