Billionaire activist Tom Steyer announces presidential bid

Tom SteyerThomas (Tom) Fahr SteyerKrystal Ball: Billionaires panicking over Sanders candidacy Steyer scores endorsement from key New Hampshire activist Excitement over Bloomberg's trial balloon should concern Democrats MORE, the billionaire philanthropist and liberal activist, announced on Tuesday that he would seek the Democratic presidential nomination, reversing course after saying months ago that he would not mount a campaign. 

Steyer, a former hedge fund manager, has funded political projects and Democratic campaigns for years. He has also become one of the most outspoken advocates for impeaching President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial Warren goes local in race to build 2020 movement 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes MORE, launching Need to Impeach in 2017 to rally support for bringing impeachment proceedings against the president.

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In his announcement, Steyer said he would focus his campaign "on solving two major crises – reforming our broken political system and saving our planet from the ravages of climate change."

“If we can reduce the influence of corporate money in our democracy, and start to address the devastating impacts of climate change, we can unlock the full potential of the American people and finally solve the many challenges facing our country,” said Steyer.

Steyer did not mention impeaching Trump in his campaign announcement, despite his previous efforts on rallying support for it, focusing instead on corporate control of politics. 

Steyer is only the latest Democrat to launch a campaign for the White House. He joins two dozen others vying for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination. 

His announcement came a day after Rep. Eric SwalwellEric Michael SwalwellKey takeaways from first public impeachment hearing Kent, Taylor say they're not 'Never Trumpers' after Trump Twitter offensive Live coverage: House holds first public impeachment hearing MORE (D-Calif.) became the first major candidate to drop out of the race, citing his own viability in the primary contest and announcing instead that he would seek reelection to his House seat.

There are some factors that could work in Steyer’s favor. He is independently wealthy, meaning he could easily fund his own campaign, and he already has a team of staffers at the ready from his existing political groups.

Still, Steyer is likely to face a tough challenge as he looks to break into the Democratic primary field. 

Not only is he getting off to a late start relative to other candidates, but he will likely face skeptics in the party’s liberal wing who have spoken out against self-funding candidates and have argued that the Democratic nominee should be reflective of the party’s increasingly diverse membership rather than a white man.

Steyer initially considered launching a presidential bid earlier this year but announced in January that he would instead focus on his advocacy for Trump’s impeachment. He appeared at the time, however, to leave the door open to a change of heart, saying that he would not make a White House run “at this time.”

"I am not running for president at this time,” he said. “Instead, I am strengthening my commitment to Need to Impeach in 2019 until the House starts impeachment proceedings or Mr. Trump resigns."