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Tom Steyer, California Billionaire, Says He Won’t Run for Office in 2018

Tom Steyer, the California billionaire hedge fund manager and Democratic donor who has been running a campaign to impeach President Donald Trump, said that he would not run for office in 2018.

Rather, he said that he will devote his energies to organizing voters for the midterms, as well as “redoubling” his campaign to remove Trump from office.

“I believe the most important task for me is organizing and mobilizing America’s voters,” Steyer said.

At a press conference at an office building near Capitol Hill in Washington, Steyer said that he would spend $30 million to mobilize young voters in 10 states. He identified that demographic group as particularly “horrified” by what is happening in Washington and with the Trump administration, and that the president’s tenure has awoken a “sleeping giant” of voters alarmed by what is happening.

“We don’t just need to win. We need to run the table,” Steyer said.

Steyer also indicated that he would devote many more resources on his impeachment campaign, beyond the money he has already spent on nationwide ad buys. His supporters planned to distribute copies of Michael Wolff’s “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” to every member of Congress. The book has raised questions about Trump’s fitness for office.

Characterizing the situation in Washington as a national crisis, Steyer said that he sees the 2018 elections as a “must win” for Democrats as a check on the Trump presidency. He had been mentioned as a possible candidate for Senate or governor in California this year, but he indicated that he ultimately decided against it after giving it some consideration.

Instead, he said that he would focus on winning races in Arizona, California, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

“My fight is in removing Donald Trump from office and from power, and that starts with taking the House back in 2018,” Steyer said.

He said that Republicans had abdicated their responsibilities and that, by his count, Trump has already committed eight impeachable offenses.

Steyer is also cited as a prospect for a 2020 presidential bid, although he said that he was focused on the midterms.

Asked whether he could support someone like Oprah Winfrey, who is reportedly considering a bid, Steyer said that he watched her speech on his phone on Monday morning. “It was a fantastic speech,” he said. But he added that he was not concentrating on anything “starting on Nov. 7, 2018,” the day after the midterm elections.

Some Democrats have dismissed the idea of impeachment at this time — or even making it a 2018 campaign issue. Steyer said that the issue will not be a litmus test for candidates his groups support, but that the impeachment campaign is something to the inform the American people so they in turn could put pressure on their elected representatives.

Michael Ahrens, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, said of Steyer’s announcement, “Tom Steyer can light as much of his money on fire as he wants, but doesn’t change that Democrats like Nancy Pelosi view him as a distraction. If Democrats’ message for 2018 is a baseless impeachment threat that the majority of voters disagree with, they’re going to lose.”

 

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