Climate activist Steyer launching voter drive on college campuses

Climate activist Steyer launching voter drive on college campuses
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Billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer is launching a $25 million campaign to get millennials to vote for candidates who care about climate change this year.

The effort through Steyer’s NextGen Climate organization, for which he’s the main donor, will focus on sending campaigners to more than 200 colleges in seven battleground states.


Steyer said the effort is meant to take advantage of millennials’ strong convictions and desire to take action on climate change and to direct that energy toward electing the right people to office.

“Today, over 80 percent of young voters prefer candidates who offer clean energy solutions, so they can turn their enthusiasm into real, tangible, political power,” Steyer told reporters Monday.

“When young people engage in the political conversation, when they turn out and vote, when they use the fact that they are the biggest cohort in this election cycle, incredible things can happen,” he said.

NextGen's efforts are focused both on the presidential race and on Senate campaigns, since Democrats believe they have a good shot at retaking control of the Senate. The campaign will connet with at least 203 college campuses in Pennsylvania, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Nevada, Illinois and Colorado.

Steyer has hosted fundraisers for former Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonNo Hillary — the 'Third Way' is the wrong way The dangerous erosion of Democratic Party foundations The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat MORE, the current Democratic presidential front-runner and has endorsed only Democrats in the past. But he declined Monday to formally endorse candidates in any races.

“The time will come when we do think that it will be very clear and we can make a decision, but so far, we’ve tried to play it even-steven between parties, between candidates, and let the voters draw their own conclusions,” he said. “We will give out specific endorsements.”

Heather Hargreaves, NextGen’s vice president, said the millennial campaign is likely to center on voter-to-voter interactions, eschewing traditional media like television campaigns in favor of Snapchat events, brewery tours, concerts and the like.

The goal at this point, Hargreaves said, is to get young people registered to vote, educate them about where candidates stand on climate and related policy questions and motivate them to show up on Election Day.

“We know that millennials are engaged in politics every day, but not always at the ballot box, and young people in particular have a lot at stake in this election,” Hargreaves said.

“Our campus program is unparalleled by any non-candidate campaign, and shows the size and scope of the enthusiasm for climate action among young voters.”