California Republican Is Tom Steyer’s Latest Target


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Jason Hopkins Immigration and politics reporter
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Billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer — who is dropping tens of thousands of dollars in a nationwide effort to flip the GOP House majority — has made one vulnerable California lawmaker his latest target.

Steyer is working to defeat Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, a GOP congressman in Orange County, Calif., who is considered one of the most vulnerable incumbent Republicans this election cycle. NextGen America, an environmental group founded and funded by Steyer, has placed a billboard attacking Rohrabacher for his stance on offshore drilling.

Replete with a picture of a large, flaming oil rig stationed in the ocean, the billboard located next to an Orange County freeway warns: “Rep. Rohrabacher wants to line California’s coasts with oil rigs like these.”

The billboard is part of NextGen America’s five-figure effort against Rohrabacher and his support for drilling off the California coast, according to E&E News.

There are currently 23 drilling platforms operating in federal waters off  the California coast, but a new platform has not been installed since 1989. Ryan Zinke, the secretary of the Interior, has pushed to expand offshore drilling in the U.S.

Steyer, who made his fortune as a hedge fund manager and is estimated to be worth well over one billion, has spent millions of his own cash to build up NextGen and similar operations in order to make climate change the most consequential issue of the 2018 midterms.

During the last two election cycles, Steyer personally spent more than $163 million supporting Democratic candidates and progressive causes. Much of those efforts proved fruitless, however, as Republicans continued to hold their majorities in Congress following the 2014 and 2016 elections. Many of the Democratic candidates he financially supported lost on Election Day.

But these past failures have not deterred the liberal mega-donor.

The former hedge fund manager is burning $30 million this year to drive young, climate-concerned voters out to the polls. NextGen is targeting Republican lawmakers who they deem vulnerable, including Republicans in districts that are trending blue. In California, the group is spending $3.5 million on an operation to visit over 30 campuses to register young voters.

However, Republicans have not expressed concern, pointing to Steyer’s past election failures.

“Steyer dumped a lot of money here in 2016 and we still maintained all of our congressional seats and almost 67 percent of all elected seats. We will do the same in 2018,” said Orange County GOP spokesman Randall Avilla in a statement Friday to The Daily Caller News Foundation.

Besides prioritizing climate change, Steyer wants to flip control of the House of Representatives in order to initiate an impeachment process against President Donald Trump.

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