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A Billionaire Who Said He Wasn’t Running For President In January Is Now Running For President

Tom Steyer, who has spent months building support for impeaching Trump, changed his mind and decided to launch a 2020 campaign.

Last updated on July 9, 2019, at 9:17 a.m. ET

Posted on July 9, 2019, at 9:09 a.m. ET

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Tom Steyer, a San Francisco–based billionaire and Democratic political donor, announced in a video Tuesday that he’s decided to run for president, months after initially announcing that he would not run.

Steyer, a hedge fund manager, has invested millions of dollars in political organizations he’s founded, like NextGen America, which has focused on pulling in younger voters around climate change issues, and Need to Impeach, a group he launched to pressure Democratic members of Congress to start impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump.

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The announcement video, titled "Fundamental Change," focused less on Trump than on his own biography and his commitment to fighting corruption among "the power elite in Washington, DC," and in the economy. "If you think that there's something that's absolutely critical, try as hard as you can and let the chips fall where they may," he said. "And that's exactly what I'm doing."

In 2018, Steyer gave the impression for months that he would launch a presidential campaign. In December, he posted job listings on LinkedIn for “highly skilled political professionals” for a “high-profile campaign based on the West Coast.”

Weeks later, Steyer announced that he’d decided against running for president, telling reporters at an Iowa press conference in January that he was “strengthening [his] commitment to Need to Impeach.” He did, however, hedge his declaration by specifying that he was not running for president “at this time.”

Since then, Steyer has held town halls, aired commercials starring himself in early-voting states, and launched a public education campaign centered on impeaching the president and has invested $40 million in the effort.

Steyer is the 26th person to announce a campaign for the Democratic nomination and the 24th person seriously running for president after Rep. Eric Swalwell dropped out of the field Monday, pointing to poor polling as the reason for his decision.

The 23 remaining candidates in the field are former vice president Joe Biden; Sens. Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bennet, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Amy Klobuchar, and Kirsten Gillibrand; Reps. Seth Moulton, Tulsi Gabbard, and Tim Ryan; South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg; former Colorado governor John Hickenlooper; Washington Gov. Jay Inslee; Montana Gov. Steve Bullock; former representatives Beto O’Rourke, John Delaney, and Joe Sestak; New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; entrepreneur Andrew Yang; former housing secretary Julián Castro; author Marianne Williamson; and Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam.

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