2020 Watch: Billionaire Tom Steyer Plans to Spend $2.5 Million in Wisconsin


Billionaire environmentalist and Democratic donor Tom Steyer announced that NextGen America plans on spending $2.5 million in Wisconsin to mobilize millennial voters ahead of the 2018 midterm elections on Tuesday.

Some might see Steyer’s involvement in Wisconsin and nine other states as Steyer laying the groundwork for a 2020 presidential campaign.

NextGen is “committed to spending $30 million in 10 states to register and energize progressive, millennial voters — $2.5 million of which will fund efforts in Wisconsin,” according to the group.

“We are focused on registering, engaging and empowering the under-represented parts of society, which very much includes millennials,” Steyer told the Capital Times. “Traditionally, people have felt organizing millennials is too expensive, too time-consuming. We feel it is the essence of democracy to make sure the parts of society that aren’t participating enough participate.”

Steyer has been a vocal critic of President Trump and last fall launched a $20 million impeachment campaign against him.

NextGen’s efforts in Wisconsin will focus on “supporting Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Democratic challengers to [Gov. Scott] Walker and [Speaker Paul] Ryan.”

According to the Capital Times:

“Steyer’s NextGen America group is already active on 14 college campuses throughout Wisconsin, including the University of Wisconsin-Madison, UW-Stevens Point, UW-Stout, Marquette University, Cardinal Stritch University and Carroll University. By the Nov. 6 general election, the group plans to have 53 paid staff working on 35 campuses.”

NextGen will also focus on millennials who aren’t in school or attend community colleges, “which generally don’t see the kind of political engagement efforts that larger universities do, a spokesman for the group said.”

The group will also fund similar programs in nine other states including California, Nevada, Arizona, Iowa, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Virginia and Florida.

Nevada, Iowa, and New Hampshire are all important primary states, and Steyer’s million-dollar investment in these states might be seen as laying the groundwork for a 2020 presidential campaign.

More importantly, all the states that NextGen will be involved in except for California are crucial swing states that anyone who hopes to become president would need to win.

While Steyer claims these NextGen’s efforts are for 2018, based on the states the billionaire picked, it would appear that he has his eyes set on 2020.

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Author: Fran Brennan

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