Billionaire Tom Steyer will not run for president in 2020, he told reporters here in Iowa on Wednesday, ending months of speculation that the Democratic donor would escalate his efforts to defeat President Donald Trump by attempting to take him on at the ballot box.
Steyer amassed what Forbes estimates to be a $1.6 billion fortune by founding the investment firm Farallon Capital in the mid-1980s and serving as a partner at the San Francisco private equity firm Hellman & Friedman.
"Now the impeachment question has reached an inflection point", he said.
Steyer is pledging to spend $40 million of his own money in 2019 on his impeachment campaign. "Therefore, I will be dedicating 100 percent of my time, effort and resources working for Mr. Trump's impeachment and removal from office".
Although Steyer opted against a presidential run, the constellation of political organizations that he has built is likely to have an impact on the presidential race and on key congressional races across the country.
Steyer said his $40 million commitment for 2019 was created to pressure the Democratic-controlled House to begin impeachment hearings and to persuade the party's presidential contenders to support impeachment on their platform. Steyer says the president has already committed at least 10 impeachable offenses since he took office.
Steyer said on Wednesday that he would use that email list - as well as an additional $16 million in money to Need to Impeach - to drum up more support for impeaching Trump.
He may face another self-funded billionaire candidate in Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of NY, who has more of a national profile.
"Mr. Trump has made division itself the centerpiece to his presidency".
"Most people come to Iowa around this time to announce a campaign for the presidency", he said.
Steyer's decision not to enter the race also leaves the deep-pocketed donor available to support one of as many as two dozen Democrats who are weighing 2020 presidential bids. "Unless I believe that my background and my beliefs and my priorities are different from the other people who are running, there's really no point in being one of a very large group of contestants".