Environmentalist billionaire Tom Steyer claims he registered more than 1 million new voters Monday who are committed to voting against Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
The Democratic mega donor said his political action committee, NextGen Climate, registered 1 million voters, including nearly 750,000 in California and about 300,000 in battleground states. Steyer called the surge a “positive signal about the future of our country.”
His political groups partnered with community groups such as Planned Parenthood, Latino Community Foundation, Democratic Party chapters, among other liberal groups.
The former hedge fund manager is focusing his campaign on seven swing states, from Pennsylvania to Ohio to Nevada. The swing state push, Steyer said, is part of NextGen’s $25 million initiative to engage young people and “awaken our sleeping progressive giant.”
A record 18.2 million people are registered to vote in California.
NextGen justified its spending by pointing to a June, 2015, poll showing that 73 percent of young voters believe the U.S. should receive 50 percent of its energy from solar panels and windmills, among other renewable sources, by 2030.
The group is active on 70 college campuses in the Keystone State, and announced Thursday plans to expand to 22 others. The group told Huffington Post it plans to spend more than half of the money on campus engagement, and the other half on off-campus campaigns.
The billionaire founded the group in 2013 and shoveled more than $74 million into the 2014 midterm elections with few positive results.
Steyer used the super PAC For Our Future to plunge another $25 million into efforts to get millennials to the voting booth. He claimed the program made 2.2 million door-to-door field contacts with various Hispanic communities aimed at engaging them on issues of “environmental justice, racial justice, and economic justice.”
The green billionaire’s philanthropy might simply be an effort to lay down the kind of infrastructure needed for a gubernatorial run in 2018.
Steyer, for his part, told reporters Oct. 17 that a run for office is not happening, at least not yet. “Good idea, though,’’ he said, when asked whether he is trying to create future mailing lists for a political race.
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