Billionaire donor Steyer says he won't run for office in 2018

Billionaire donor Steyer says he won't run for office in 2018
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Billionaire Democratic donor and environmentalist Tom Steyer will not run for any political office in 2018, instead outlining plans to sink tens of millions of dollars into an aggressive effort to flip the House majority to the Democrats.

"I'm willing to do whatever it takes to help save our country. And I believe the most important task for me, the task which I feel called to do, is organizing and mobilizing America’s voters," Steyer said during a Monday morning press conference in Washington, D.C., at an office space overlooking the Capitol.

"I'm not going to run for office in 2018, that's not where I can make the biggest difference."

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He plans to channel at least $30 million toward his advocacy group, NextGen America, in order to build out a massive army meant to boost millennial voter turnout across 10 states. Democrats will need to flip at least 24 seats in 2018 to win back the majority.

Steyer has long flirted with political bids of his own — he decided against running to replace retiring Sen. Barbara BoxerBarbara Levy BoxerHillicon Valley: Ocasio-Cortez clashes with former Dem senator over gig worker bill | Software engineer indicted over Capital One breach | Lawmakers push Amazon to remove unsafe products Ocasio-Cortez blasts former Dem senator for helping Lyft fight gig worker bill Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates MORE (D-Calif.) in 2016 and his name had been rumored as a potential candidate in California’s gubernatorial race or as a primary challenger to Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinGiffords, Demand Justice to pressure GOP senators to reject Trump judicial pick Senate confirms Trump pick labeled 'not qualified' by American Bar Association Feinstein endorses Christy Smith for Katie Hill's former House seat MORE (D-Calif) this year.

His decision to forego a bid in 2018 makes state Sen. Kevin de León Feinstein’s only serious Democratic primary challenger right now. And it keeps the crowded gubernatorial primary field in the state static for now.

The environmentalist is one of the wealthiest Democratic donors in politics — he spent more than $91 million during the 2016 campaign, including donations to candidates, super PACs and NextGen America.

And he’s blanketed the television airwaves this past year with his “Need to Impeach” ad campaign calling on Congress to impeach President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he will 'temporarily hold off' on declaring Mexican drug cartels as terror organization House Judiciary Committee formally receives impeachment report Artist behind gold toilet offered to Trump sells banana duct-taped to a wall for 0,000 MORE, on which he’s spent more than $20 million.

Republicans were quick to pan the effort, pointing to the less-than-unified Democratic front on his impeachment push. 

“Tom Steyer can light as much of his money on fire as he wants, but doesn’t change that Democrats like Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiHouse Judiciary Committee formally receives impeachment report Overnight Energy: Pelosi vows bold action to counter 'existential' climate threat | Trump jokes new light bulbs don't make him look as good | 'Forever chemicals' measure pulled from defense bill Overnight Health Care — Presented by Johnson & Johnson – House progressives may try to block vote on Pelosi drug bill | McConnell, Grassley at odds over Trump-backed drug pricing bill | Lawmakers close to deal on surprise medical bills MORE view him as a distraction," Republican National Committee spokesman Michael Ahrens said in a statement.  

"If Democrats’ message for 2018 is a baseless impeachment threat that the majority of voters disagree with, they’re going to lose.”

—Updated at 2:31 p.m.