Billionaire businessman Tom SteyerTom SteyerYouth voting organization launches M registration effort in key battlegrounds Overnight Energy: 'Eye of fire,' Exxon lobbyist's comments fuel renewed attacks on oil industry | Celebrities push Biden to oppose controversial Minnesota pipeline | More than 75 companies ask Congress to pass clean electricity standard Celebrities push Biden to oppose controversial Minnesota pipeline MORE dropped out of the presidential race after a disappointing showing in South Carolina's primary.
Steyer's poor showing came after he had made a big play for South Carolina. Results with 85 percent of precincts reporting showed him with just over 11 percent of the vote, below the 15 percent threshold needed to win delegates from the state.
Former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenCarville advises Democrats to 'quit being a whiny party' Wendy Sherman takes leading role as Biden's 'hard-nosed' Russia negotiator Sullivan: 'It's too soon to tell' if Texas synagogue hostage situation part of broader extremist threat MORE won South Carolina decisively, with Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersDemocrats call on Biden to step up virus response We are America's independent contractors, and we are terrified Overnight Health Care — Biden's Supreme Court setback MORE (I-Vt.) placing a distant second and Steyer finishing third.
“There’s no question today that this campaign, we were disappointed with where we came out,” Steyer said in his concession speech. “But I said, if I didn’t see a path to winning, that I’d suspend my campaign. And honestly, I can’t see a path where I can win the presidency.”
The philanthropist had poured over $20 million of his own money into South Carolina to fund an advertising blitz, offering competitive campaign salaries and hiring many businesses owned by African Americans, who make up the majority of the Democratic electorate in the state.
However, he was unable to overcome Biden's strong support among African Americans.
Steyer has struggled to stand out in the race, finishing far behind the pack in Iowa and New Hampshire, while notching a fifth-place finish in Nevada.
The billionaire businessman vowed to support the ultimate Democratic presidential nominee, saying any of the contenders would be “a million times better” than President TrumpDonald TrumpWendy Sherman takes leading role as Biden's 'hard-nosed' Russia negotiator Senate needs to confirm Deborah Lipstadt as antisemitism envoy — Now Former acting Defense secretary under Trump met with Jan. 6 committee: report MORE, while promising to stay involved in South Carolina.
“I’m not leaving. You may want me out of here. I’m not leaving. We’re already figuring out ways in fact to make sure that we stay in South Carolina,” he said.
“Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamKyrsten Sinema's courage, Washington hypocrisy and the politics of rage Hillicon Valley: Amazon's Alabama union fight — take two McConnell will run for another term as leader despite Trump's attacks MORE’s a disaster. He’s the disaster here. So of course I’ll be working on that,” he added, hinting he would be involved in the effort to unseat Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).
Steyer said he still felt vindicated by his campaign, which centered around ending corporate corruption, rectifying racial inequities and advocating for solutions to tackle climate change. He also made term limits for Congress and reparations for African Americans focal points of his White House bid.
“I didn’t get into this race and start talking about things to try to get votes. I was in this race to talk about things that I care the most about and that I continue to care the most about,” he said. “This has been a great experience. I have zero regrets.”
Updated at 9:57 p.m.