Warren responds to Steyer 2020 bid: Primary shouldn't be decided by billionaires

Warren responds to Steyer 2020 bid: Primary shouldn't be decided by billionaires
© Aaron Schwartz

Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSteyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates Gabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch MORE (D-Mass.) on Tuesday jabbed the latest Democrat to join the 2020 primary, billionaire Tom SteyerThomas (Tom) Fahr SteyerDemocratic candidates face hard choices as 2020 field winnows Steyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch MORE, by saying the election shouldn't be controlled by the wealthiest class. 

"The Democratic primary should not be decided by billionaires, whether they’re funding Super PACs or funding themselves," Warren tweeted Tuesday. "The strongest Democratic nominee in the general will have a coalition that’s powered by a grassroots movement."

Steyer, a liberal activist and former hedge fund manager, became the 25th candidate to enter the race Tuesday morning. 

He's worth an estimated $1.6 billion, according to Forbes, and he signed the "Giving Pledge" in 2010 along with his wife, making a promise to donate the bulk of their assets to philanthropic causes.

Warren has vowed to not accept money from political action committees and does not hold high-dollar fundraisers.

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She's been successful in her grassroots efforts, raising more than $19 million in the second quarter of 2019 with an average donation of $28. That total places her in the top three among Democrats who have announced their second-quarter numbers. 

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHickenlooper day-old Senate bid faces pushback from progressives Steyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates Andrew Yang: News coverage of Trump a 'microcosm' of issues facing country MORE (I-Vt.) is also running a grassroots fundraising campaign, but he has not raised as much as Warren.

Sanders's campaign said it raised $18 million in the second quarter and transferred another $6 million from other accounts. 

Sanders also called out Steyer's campaign on Tuesday, saying "I like Tom personally" but adding that he's "a bit tired of seeing billionaires trying to buy political power." 

A spokesman for Steyer told The Hill that the candidate "agrees with Senators Warren and Sanders about the importance of running a grassroots campaign."

"He's been doing that from the outside for the last 10 years, beating big corporations by going directly to the voters," Alberto Lammers said in a statement, noting Steyer's effort to mobilize young voters in 2018. 
 
"Tom's campaign for President will build a national grassroots movement to remove the corrupting influence of corporate money on our politics and push power to the American people," Lammers said. 

--Updated at 5:42 p.m.