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From donor to Democrat candidate: Tom ‘Need to impeach’ Steyer declares his 2020 run

From donor to Democrat candidate: Tom ‘Need to impeach’ Steyer declares his 2020 run
Tom Steyer, a wealthy liberal activist and fundraiser, has announced that he will seek the Democratic nomination in the 2020 presidential race, shifting gears from his failed campaign to impeach President Donald Trump.

Steyer, who formally declared his candidacy in a video published on Tuesday morning, has vowed to reverse the “corporate takeover of our democracy” and “push power down to the people” if elected.

Though he’d said earlier he would not seek office and would instead focus his attention on pressuring Congress to launch impeachment proceedings against Trump –on which he has already spent over $10 million, as part of his ‘Need to Impeach’ initiative– Steyer has now changed course and joined a crowded Democratic Party field.

Steyer wields sizable influence in the party. His super PAC, NextGen America, contributed some $96 million to Democrat causes in 2016, and $61 million during last year’s midterms. He was a major backer of the presidential campaigns of John Kerry, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and has spent much of the fortune amassed through his hedge fund Farallon Capital – which he sold in 2012 – on similar, high-profile political causes.

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In order to qualify for the next Democratic debate, scheduled for the end of July, Steyer’s latecomer campaign will have to assemble 65,000 unique donors.

Steyer has already vowed to spend $100 million of his own money on the election, but has to show support under the new party rules, implemented after the controversial 2016 primaries. His odds of success are unclear, given that he is a white male billionaire appealing to a party base that has become radically progressive and intersectional.

Steyer’s announcement comes just a day after Representative Eric Swalwell (D-California) became the first Democrat to drop out of the race, reportedly due to fundraising shortfalls and a primary challenger in his home district.

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