It looks like SF hedge fund manager turned environmental activist Tom Steyer has earned the honor of becoming the single biggest spender in this election, except the majority of his money didn't go to either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump's presidential campaigns. As KCBS reports, Steyer has plunked down some $75 million for TV spots like the one above, starring himself, aiming to get out the Millennial vote for progressive causes, including Yes on 56, the cigarette tax, a measure which he sponsored.
Steyer's group, NextGen Climate, is taking responsibility for registering 750,000 new voters in California this year, and some see the campaign as a precursor to a potential gubernatorial bid, chalking up one more potential adversary for Gavin Newsom in 2018.
Steyer has also spent money on ads aimed at tearing down Trump, including $1.7 million he spent on negative ads to air during the Republican National Convention in July. But the bulk of what he's reportedly spent have focused on other issues.
Steyer also reportedly spent $74 million supporting various gubernatorial and congressional campaigns in 2014.
Speaking to KCBS, Steyer denies and gubernatorial hopes of his own for now, but says, "Everything that we’re doing, I’m extremely proud of. Everything we’re doing stands on its own. Until November 8th, there’s no reason to do anything but what we’re doing. We’ve set up these programs, and we want to finish strong, and we want to make sure that we accomplish what we set out to do, and that we feel good about it."
Critics have pointed out, despite Steyer now trying to discourage smoking in California, that he made some of his money through investing in tobacco companies.