Politics

Steyer Plows $5 Million Into Gillum’s Campaign As He Works To Turn Florida Blue

(Reuters)

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Chris White Tech Reporter

Democratic moneyman Tom Steyer is contributing millions of dollars to Andrew Gillum’s campaign for governor of Florida as the Tallahassee mayor etches out a virulently anti-Trump platform.

Steyer is forking over $5 million into the progressive candidate’s campaign war chest as the California billionaire works to turn a reliably Republican office blue, The New York Times reported Tuesday. Gillum is one of a handful of Democratic candidates pushing for President Donald Trump’s ouster.

“He’s a fierce gun control person, he’s been a climate champion,” Steyer told reporters, referring to Gillum, who endorses many of Steyer’s policy objectives. “He’s called for the impeachment of the president. He’s been willing to talk plainly to Florida voters, and they’ve responded.”

The money might not be enough to beat back Gillum’s opponent, Rep. Ron DeSantis, a conservative firebrand and Trump supporter. The president’s approval numbers are relatively high in Florida, which has not elected a Democratic governor this century.

DeSantis is getting some help from his friends as well. The Republican Governors Association (RGA) is coming more than $20 million to DeSantis, with the group also running ads branding Gillum as “too radical” for Florida.

The RGA is also linking him to a federal corruption investigation in Tallahassee. The FBI has spent years investigating Tallahassee’s city government for alleged corruption. Gillum claims he is not a target of that investigation, and Steyer’s team is not worried about the controversy, according to TheNYT.

“By embracing California billionaire Tom Steyer and his unpopular obsession with impeachment, Andrew Gillum is once again demonstrating to Florida voters that his radical campaign is too extreme and too out of touch,” RGA spokesman Jon Thompson told reporters.

Steyer is attempting to create a miniature version of himself in Florida, Thompson noted, adding that Gillum’s hard-line politics demonstrate his growing alliance with Steyer.

Steyer, a former hedge fund manager with Faraday, is willing to spend about $5.2 million on the governor’s race, with about half going to digital advertising, The NYT reported. The rest will go into the coffers of Steyer’s two biggest political groups – For Our Future and NextGen America, both of which are working on get-out-the-vote efforts this election.

Democrats have so far not warmed to Steyer’s multi-million-dollar campaign to impeach Trump. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, for instance, called an impeachment campaign impractical in March, suggesting it distracts from special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and could jeopardize Democratic efforts to take back Congress in 2018. (RELATED: Steyer’s Impeach Trump Campaign Scrounges For Support On Long Road Trip)

Steyer also has a poor track record of backing successful campaigns. He spent about $86 million in the 2016 election cycle, for instance, in a losing bid to get Democrats elected. His political group, NextGen Climate, meanwhile, spent about $56 million in 2016, according to campaign finance data.

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