He’s been one of the most visible and deep-pocketed liberals advocating for President Trump’s impeachment. Now he’s in the race for the Democratic nomination.
Tom Steyer, the billionaire investor and activist, is spending the weekend campaigning in South Carolina, which is holding the second primary after New Hampshire.
Steyer, 62, surprised many Democrats in January when he traveled to Iowa, home to the nation’s first presidential caucus, to declare that he would focus entirely on the impeachment effort instead of seeking the White House.
Since then, Steyer has said he’s grown frustrated at the pace at which the Democratic-controlled House is approaching Trump.
Roughly half of the Democratic presidential contenders, seeking to appeal to the party’s progressive base, have called on House Democrats to start an impeachment inquiry.
But Speaker Nancy Pelosi has resisted, warning that Democrats need to collect the facts and that a rush to impeachment could ultimately help Trump politically.
Despite becoming a national voice on the impeachment issue, Steyer made no mention of it in his campaign announcement earlier this week.
Instead, he said his campaign will focus on reducing the influence of corporations in politics.
Steyer joins the race three weeks before the next presidential debates, and he could struggle to get a spot on the stage.
He likely won’t meet polling requirements to participate but could clear a fundraising threshold.
There are 20 spots at the debate for a field that includes two dozen candidates.
If more than 20 people qualify, the Democratic National Committee will hold a tiebreaker to determine who gets on stage.
Steyer also could potentially face challenges hiring staff.
Several of his former NextGen America staffers have joined Inslee’s campaign.
A former Steyer spokeswoman, Aleigha Cavalier, recently joined Beto O’Rourke’s 2020 campaign.
The sprawling Democratic field is in flux as Steyer becomes the newest contender.
Some lower-tier candidates are facing increasingly dire prospects if they don’t secure spots on the debate stage this fall.
California Rep. Eric Swalwell exited the race Monday , and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s campaign has undergone a shake-up after his debate performance last month, with some staffers encouraging him to consider a Senate campaign instead.
This is not the first time Steyer has considered running for office.
He eyed bids for governor of California in 2018 and the Senate in 2016.
His net worth, according to Forbes, is estimated at $1.6 billion.