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2018 U.S. Senate race2018 electionCalifornia Democrats

Tom Steyer adds $10 million to his Trump impeachment campaign, remains undecided about running for office

 (Los Angeles Times)
(Los Angeles Times)

Billionaire Democratic donor Tom Steyer said Thursday that he planned to double his spending on his impeachment campaign against President Trump to $20 million.

“The American people have responded beyond our expectations to this message, and it’s clear we’re giving voice to the deep concerns about this president,” Steyer told reporters on a conference call.

He said that in addition to millions of viewers of the “Need to Impeach” group’s television ad, 1.3 million people have watched the spot on YouTube and 1.9 million have signed a petition calling for the president’s removal from office.

Steyer said the group plans to unveil two new TV ads in coming weeks.

Asked about the concerns among some Democrats, notably House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, that the impeachment message distracts from their efforts in Washington and the goal of retaking the House of Representatives in 2018, Steyer said that his effort was not about campaign tactics.

“I think what we’re trying to do is give a forum and a voice to the American people to register their concerns and fears about what this president is doing,” he said. “We think what we’re doing is the morally right thing to do.”

Steyer has long flirted with running for office, most recently in a challenge to a fellow Democrat, Sen. Dianne Feinstein. The impeachment campaign, which features the former hedge fund manager speaking directly to the camera and soberly laying out why he believes the president should be removed from office, has spurred speculation that he was trying to increase his name recognition among voters. Feinstein has faced criticism from California liberals for refusing to publicly back the idea of impeaching Trump.

Steyer said he had not ruled out running for office.

“What’s we’re doing on the ground around the United States and on this campaign right now, that is taking up all my time,” he said. “I’m evaluating [running], but I don’t feel like I have to make a decision right now.”

A USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll released Thursday showed that Steyer has a long way to go if he does decide to challenge Feinstein.

About three-quarters of registered voters surveyed do not know enough about Steyer to form an opinion about him, the poll found. In a three-way race, it said, Feinstein won the support of half of registered voters who plan to cast a ballot in the primary, state Senate leader Kevin de León won the backing of nearly a quarter and Steyer trailed at 17%.

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