Dem mega-donor to spend $10M on GOTV campaign ahead of midterms

Dem mega-donor to spend $10M on GOTV campaign ahead of midterms
© Greg Nash

Democratic mega-donor Tom Steyer said Monday that he will pump an additional $10 million into a new get-out-the-vote campaign ahead of the November midterm elections.

The effort, called "Need to Vote," is an extension of Steyer's "Need to Impeach" campaign aimed at booting President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE from the White House.

In a town hall in Lansing, Mich., on Monday, Steyer said that he would continue to work on the impeachment campaign. But he billed the get-out-the-vote effort as a necessary step to reclaim Washington from a Republican Congress that has given Trump a blank check. 

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"Congress is effectively broken and it has been for a long time. Our representatives talk about the issues, but they cannot find a way to do anything about them," Steyer said.

"We’re at a time when we need to start getting things done again; when we need action," he added. "And I believe that has to start with the people."

The "Need to Vote" initiative will be an expansive campaign involving television and digital ads, and "face-to-face conversations" with voters, Steyer said.

The effort will also dispatch experienced organizers across the country to work with "Need to Impeach" supporters on the get-out-the-vote campaign, Steyer said. Also part of Steyer's plans: house parties, handwritten letters and social media campaigns seeking to boost voter turnout in November.

"This is not about a list of candidates or where they stand on any given issue," he said. "This is really about what you all have created. It’s about standing up for the Americans that have been abandoned and disrespected by Washington, D.C."

Steyer's announcement on Monday drew an immediate rebuke from the GOP, which accused the billionaire hedge fund manager of "wasting millions" of dollars on a negative partisan campaign.

"Democrats need a positive message, not a liberal billionaire wasting millions more on something even Nancy PelosiNancy Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiTrump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada Lawmakers consider easing costs on drug companies as part of opioids deal New grounds for impeachment? House Dem says Trump deserves it for making society worse MORE calls a 'distraction,'" Michael Ahrens, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, said. 

Steyer, a rumored presidential contender for 2020, is one of the Democratic Party's most prolific individual donors.

Politico reported late last month that Steyer plans to spend at least $110 million on politics in 2018. It was not clear whether the $10 million he plans to drop on "Need to Vote" is part of his previously reported spending plans. 

"This is money that we’re allocating to a grass-roots organization to see if our 5.5 million-plus petition signers can come together and change the course of the election in November," he said.

Steyer launched "Need to Impeach" last year, citing what he said was Trump's unfitness for office and disrespect for the rule of law. The petition backed by Steyer has so far garnered more than 5.5 million signatures, he said Monday.

The "Need to Vote" campaign, he said, will seek to mobilize those people who have already signed the petition in hopes of fueling a congressional takeover in November.

--Updated at 12:39 p.m.