Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 10, 2016

Tom Steyer’s 2014 Targets Start With Four Senate Races

Tom Steyer, the Democrats’ financial answer to the Koch brothers, has set his sights on specific Senate and gubernatorial races to spend the $100 million he’s earmarked for the midterm elections.

His super PAC, NextGen Climate Action, aims to promote candidates who support action to mitigate the effects of climate change. It was active in last year’s elections for Virginia governor and a vacant Senate seat in Massachusetts.

The group has now targeted the competitive Senate races in Colorado, Iowa, Michigan and New Hampshire, and the Florida, Pennsylvania and Maine gubernatorial contests. It will back the Democratic candidate in each case.

The list of targeted races could grow as election season wears on, NextGen Chief Strategist Chris Lehane told reporters at a briefing in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday. “We’re always going to keep our eyes open for other opportunities,” he said.

The goal is “to impact politics as it relates to climate,” Lehane said, and to work to “accelerate political change” in that arena.

Steyer has committed $50 million to the effort and is hoping to raise another $50 million from other donors. Lehane stressed that $50 million was not a “ceiling” for the billionaire and that Steyer might choose to put in more money.

In an era of massive political spending by independent groups, NextGen aims to offer Democrats access to vast stores of outside money as Republican enjoy — if they agree to make climate part of the campaign.

“This is the year, in our view, when we’re able to demonstrate that you can use climate — if you do it well, if do it in a smart way — as a wedge issue to win in political races,” Lehane said.

NextGen’s effort is as much about winning elections this year as it is about laying the groundwork to make the climate a major subject of discussion in elections to come.

The group will focus on showing that the climate is an issue that can help turn out base voters — critical for Democrats who suffer from falloff voters in midterm cycles — and that it can help beat back a Republican candidate by branding them as “anti-science.”

It’s laying the groundwork for involvement in the 2016 presidential race, focusing on states that not only have competitive races in 2014, but will be important in either the presidential primaries or the general election in 2016.

Part of that will be “showing that climate change can be used as a wedge issue” successfully in each of those states, Lehane said, and laying the groundwork for a discussion of climate issues as they relate to local problems in those states.

NextGen will seek to cast climate as a moral issue, where there are clear sides of right and wrong. The message will be specifically tailored to each state and area.

“We’re not necessarily going to be talking about polar bears and butterflies,” Lehane said. “We’re going to be talking about how this issue of climate impacts people in their backyards, in their states, in their communities.”

For instance, he suggested, they might make a map of all the fracking towers in Colorado.

They will also focus on the donors giving to “anti-science” candidates, and point out instances where a candidate’s position is “demonstrably not in the best interest of their state, but unquestionably in the specific interest of a major fossil fuel donor.”

Steyer has emerged to some extent as the Democrats’ answer to the Charles and David Koch, the billionaires who have lent their extensive wealth to promote conservative candidates and causes. Americans for Prosperity, a group backed by the Koch brothers, has already poured millions of dollars into Senate races as Republicans work to pick up the six seats need to win back the chamber.

“All we are trying to do, all that Tom is trying to do, is really to try to balance and level the playing field,” Lehane said. He acknowledged that NextGen would be unable to match the Kochs dollar-for-dollar but likened their efforts to David taking on Goliath.

Republicans have already sought to cast Steyer in the role of boogeyman, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has done with the Kochs. In the Michigan Senate race, GOP candidate Terri Lynn Land recently ran online ads linking her opponent, Democratic Rep. Gary Peters’ opposition to the Keystone XL pipeline to Steyer, accusing Peters of “working for billionaires, not Michigan.”

Lehane says NextGen relishes that comparison.

“Tom his spending his money in the public interest,” he said, as “the other side is spending its money on its own economic self interest.”

“We want to have this fight. Because this is a fight between right and wrong,” Lehane said. “We’re on the right side.”


    Re: XL
    Pipeline … oil from Canada!

    This is
    the Gavin Newsom for President 2016 campaign …! German American; Gordon Getty
    has the Sierra Club; President Obama and Sierra Fund in his pocket. Gordon Getty does not care about the American
    consumer – he’s already cashed out of the oil industry! Gordon Getty’s father
    J. Paul Getty supported Hitler. J.P. Getty: FBI File 100.1202, June 26, 1940; Espionage.

    When Gavin Newsom runs for President; he
    will most likely demand big money … from the oil companies for approving XL … …

    German; San Franciscan Tom Steyer; a supposed
    billionaire environmentalist was managing director at Hellman and Friedman LLC;
    who owned Getty Images — which is now owned by Carlyle Group LLC. Tom Steyer’s
    holdings include shares in Kinder Morgan … an oil pipeline company in Canada
    involved in the oil sands! El Paso Pipeline Partners; operates both oil and natural gas pipelines across the United
    States, with operations in Wyoming and Colorado, and it is currently
    constructing a facility in Georgia that will be one of the few in the U.S. that
    will export LNG. El Paso currently also has preferred treatment from its parent Kinder Morgan, which
    often gives it first shot at other pipeline assets “dropped down” from its
    massive network. El Paso buys the assets, Kinder Morgan gets cash, and
    investors collect the dividend.

    If Tom Steyer … is extorting the President
    of the United States — regarding a $100 million donation to the Democratic
    Party — to be cancelled if President Obama backs XL; then Tom Steyer should be
    exposed for political corruption!

    Perhaps Steyer; wants to build his own
    pipeline and charge three times as much to transfer the oil to market …!

    Canada is building pipelines from Alberta
    to British Columbia to ship oil and natural gas to China since they have
    already put about $40 billion into the Alberta oil sands project. Calgary-based Husky Energy Inc. and its Norwegian partner
    Statoil ASA say they have made a major oil discovery in the Flemish Pass Basin,
    offshore Newfoundland and Labrador. Also
    there is a pipeline recently authorized from Alberta to Irving Oil in Saint
    John, New Brunswick.

    A joint venture led by Petronas plans to
    make a final investment decision by the end of 2014 on whether to forge ahead
    with multibillion-dollar plans to transport northeast B.C. natural gas to a
    proposed LNG export terminal on Lelu Island, located near Prince Rupert in
    northwestern British Columbia. Petronas will hold a 62-per-cent stake in the
    Pacific NorthWest LNG project after China’s state-owned Sinopec joins the joint
    venture. Sinopec and three others will have a combined 38-per-cent interest.
    Those others are India’s state-run Indian Oil Corp. Ltd., Japan Petroleum
    Exploration and Petroleum Brunei. Russia’s
    Gazprom has
    agreed to spend about $56 billion through 2019 to build Russia’s pipeline to
    China in a $400 billion deal. The US currently
    imports its oil from Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Venezuela, and Iraq, as well
    as Nigeria and other South American countries. United States; may want to play political gamesmanship
    – but it seems the Canadians are the winners after all. Most importantly; Canada has plenty of oil
    and is a petrol rich nation. If the USA wants to play games; the oil will go to

  • Directive 10-289

    A hypocrite who is ultimately out for himself.

  • heatherGirl

    When does Harry Reid come out and complain about a billionaire influencing elections……. oh that’s right, he only complains when they don’t donate to Democrats!

  • This is the Zodiac Speaking

    This is the third time they’ve released this very same press release. I guess this is an attempt at solicitation for more money, since, really, they only have $50 million to spend. No one is afraid of these morons and their wasted money. There will be another coalition fighting against them. Dollar for dollar. Given a choice, I think the people will support jobs and cheap energy over every Hollywood liberal or limousine liberals favorite issue.

  • hesh R


    Vote republican in November!

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