Steyer shells out $1.4M for TV commercials in early voting states

One day after launching his campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, billionaire progressive activist Tom Steyer went up with TV ads on Wednesday in four of the earliest-voting primary and caucus states as well as on two of the three national cable news networks.

And the billionaire progressive activist says he’s spending a whopping $1.4 million to run the commercials for two weeks.

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Steyer’s campaign confirmed to Fox News on Tuesday that the candidate would spend at least $100 million of his own money on his White House run and that he would be launching TV spots the next day.

And Steyer is starting to spend that money immediately – bankrolling what is the largest single ad buy to date in the Democratic race. His spots will run in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina, as well as nationally on CNN and MSNBC.

One of the commercials is biographical, with Steyer highlighting that “I started a tiny investment firm in 1986 and grew it to $36 billion. In 2010, I signed the Giving Pledge to fund good causes. Then I left my business to combat climate change, fix our democracy, and hold President Trump accountable.”

The 62-year old Steyer - one of the ring leaders in the push to impeach President Donald Trump through his "Need to Impeach" movement  - became a force in politics after creating NextGenAmerica five years ago. The advocacy organization helped drive the youth vote in 2018, assisting the Democrats as they won back control of the House of Representatives.

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In the other commercial, Steyer argues that "corporations and special interests are in control. Nothing's happening for real people. Our democracy has been purchased."

Pointing to his nearly two-dozen rivals for the Democratic nomination, Steyer says "the candidates running for President have great ideas, but we can't get anything done unless we make our democracy serve the people again. I'm running for President because it's time our democracy works for people."

Few of Steyer's rivals have gone up with commercials and Steyer’s ad buys dwarf what they’ve spent so far.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York announced Monday that she would be going up with spots later this week in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan as she makes a campaign bus tour through those three crucial general election swing states. Her campaign told Fox News that she’s spending five figures to run the ads on TV and digital.

Reps. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and Seth Moulton of Massachusetts ran commercials around the first Democratic presidential primary debates last month, but those were also small ad buys. Even the larger ad buys over the past year by former Rep. John Delaney of Maryland – a multi-millionaire – pale in comparison to the money Steyer’s spending.

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Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee has called Steyer the latest candidate "to join the Democrats’ clown car."

"After a false start, left-wing extremist Tom Steyer has finally formalized his self-promotion tour under the guise of a presidential campaign," RNC spokesman Steve Guest said. "The only thing Steyer's campaign will do is light more of his money on fire as he joins the rest of the 2020 Democrat field in pushing policies that are way outside the mainstream."