Billionaire left-wing donor and former Democratic Party presidential candidate Tom Steyer is reportedly polling a run against incumbent California Governor Gavin Newsom in a recall election that is likely to be held by the end of the year.
Steyer’s fortune kept him in the race long after other rivals had left; at one point, he was responsible for over 90% of political advertisement spending on television in Nevada and South Carolina. He dropped out after Joe Biden won South Carolina, having spent over $250 million dollars. Steyer had flirted with the idea of running for governor in 2018, but deferred to Newsom.
Now, according to Politico, Steyer is polling the recall — with a view to entering it as a Democrat alternative:
Tom Steyer is polling the California recall.
And the billionaire environmental activist and erstwhile presidential hopeful has included his own name among the list of possible contenders to succeed Gov. Gavin Newsom, according to three people familiar with the recent survey.
Steyer declined to comment. But a source close to him said late Tuesday that he would be “very, very surprised if he is looking at the recall ballot.”
Still, Steyer’s decision to poll himself as a possible replacement does suggest he’s entertained the possibility. At a minimum, it is one of the few concrete examples of a Democrat weighing the opportunities and landscape of a post-Newsom California. Antonio Villaraigosa, Newsom’s primary opponent in 2018, sidestepped questions about the recall, and has taken no formal steps to test his viability.
Another Democrat billionaire, Chamath Palihapitiya, has also explored a gubernatorial run. Several Republican candidates have entered the race, with more possibly to come.
The recall campaign turned in over 2.1 million signatures last week, well above the roughly 1.5 million signatures required. A recall could happen by year’s end, presuming the signatures are verified.
Voters would be asked to decide whether Newsom should be recalled, and then to choose his replacement from a list of candidates from all parties.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.