Billionaire left-wing Democrat mega-donor Tom Steyer has qualified for the Democratic Party presidential primary debate in October, expanding the field to eleven candidates and requiring the debate to be held over two nights.
Steyer was the top individual Democratic Party donor in 2014 and 2016, falling back to third place in 2018. He began his political career funding a nationwide campaign for action against climate change, and successfully urged the Senate — then run by Democrats — to hold an all-night talk session on climate change in 2014. He also spent millions of dollars through his own organization, NextGen America, to mobilize young voters in the 2018 elections.
Since the 2016 election, Steyer has urged the Democratic Party to impeach President Donald Trump. He started a new super PAC called “Need to Impeach,” spending tens of millions of dollars on television ads urging Trump’s impeachment and backing congressional candidates who promised to back the effort. The impeachment effort has been estimated to cost over $100 million, including 1000 paid staff and 2000 volunteers across the country.
Steyer joined the presidential race in July, after the first debate had already been held. He missed the second debate, but eventually amassed enough donors — 130,000 — to pass one of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) thresholds for the September debate. He did not pass the polling threshold by the August 29 deadline, however.
Now, the New York Times reports, as of Sunday, Steyer has reached 2 percent in a Nevada poll recognized by the DNC, qualifying him for the October debate, which will now be held over two nights, Oct. 15 and 16, in Ohio.
Critics have accused Steyer of buying his way onto the stage, and some left-wing commentary online lamented that he will be spreading the field out over two nights again, at a time when the party is trying to narrow its choices.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He earned an A.B. in Social Studies and Environmental Science and Public Policy from Harvard College, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. He is also the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, which is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.