Liberal billionaire Tom Steyer is already targeting states for his $100 million spending spree to make global warming a top issue in the November elections. Democrats in Florida and Washington are likely to see a huge funding boost from Steyer and his climate activist groups.
Florida Is Drowning In Campaign Cash
Steyer, a former hedge fund manager turned eco-activist, is gearing up to take on Florida’s multi-millionaire Republican Gov. Rick Scott in his bid for re-election this fall.
Expecting a costly race in the Sunshine State, Steyer has set up a Florida headquarters for his activist group NextGen Climate Action and given it $750,000 in seed funding to lay the groundwork for his anti-Scott campaign this fall. The Miami Herald reports that Democrats are “buzzing” that Steyer could dump $10 million into Florida this fall.
Steyer plans to make sea level rises a key component of his plan to defeat Gov. Scott on the issue of global warming. Environmentalists and scientists argue that as the Earth warms, sea levels will rise, submerging many coastal regions.
“It’s hard to look at the map of the United States and not understand that not only is Florida ground zero for climate [change], it’s the third most-populous state,” Steyer told the Miami Herald.
“When you think about why this is an important state to be in, it’s because it’s actually a linchpin,” said Steyer.
But Rick Scott has his own strategy for fighting off Steyer’s attacks: spend $1 billion on environmental conservation. His plan would fund things like land and water conservation and protecting the Everglades. Scott would also spend $50 million a year on “alternative water-supply projects and another $50 million a year for natural springs restoration” as well as increasing fines for polluters, the Daily Commercial reports.
Scott’s plan has won the approval of some local environmental groups who want to see the state’s water resources receive more funding. Democrats have called the effort a phony attempt to please environmentally conscious voters.
“We agree with Governor Scott that we need to invest in protecting Florida’s water quality, the Everglades, and our treasured natural areas,” Will Abberger, campaign manager for the Florida Water and Land Legacy — a group backed by major environmental organizations.
But environmentalists say that while they agree with Scott’s efforts, they believe a pending state constitutional amendment would go farther in protecting Florida’s water resources.
Steyer’s group NextGen Climate has already conducted polling and plans big ad buys across a wide variety of mediums to defeat Scott. NexGen will also funnel lots of money to field groups that can motivate voters to get to the polls.
The Miami Herald, however, notes that Florida is the most expensive state to campaign in given its status as a swing state. In fact, in the 2010 election cycle Scott spent $75.1 million of his own money to get elected. This election cycle, he has already spent more than $20 million on TV ads, while his opponent Charlie Crist and his fellow Democrats have only spent $5 million.