Published On: Sun, Aug 3rd, 2014

Florida Politics Changing as Billionaire Democrat Tom Steyer Fuels Crist’s Campaign


Billionaire Tom Steyer is ready to create political climate change in Florida, and is putting up $750, 000 seed money in a bid to help Democrat Charlie Crist defeat Republican governor Rick Scott. The main issue is Governor’s Scott’s rejection of climate change as real science, a position Steyer thinks is hurting the environment, Florida and ultimately, the country. He told the Miami Herald:

“It is hard to look at a map and not see that Florida is not only Ground Zero for climate change, it’s also the third most populous state.” In addition, the Florida is the nation’s major swing state. Miami is also vulnerable to rising seas and hurricanes. Steyer opened the NextGen Climate Action headquarters in Miami.

Tom Steyer is a hedge fund manager and founder of Farrallon Capital Management and co-founder of OneCalifornia bank. He signed the Giving Pledge to donate half his fortune to charitable causes, and he has funded the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy at Stanford University. Steyer was born in New York City in 1957. His mother Marnie was an Episcopalian and taught remedial reading at the Brooklyn House of Detention and his father, member of the Reform Congregation Emanu-El, was a partner at the law firm Smith & Cromwell.

Even with a huge injection of contributions from Steyer, it is unlikely that Crist will outspend the incumbent Scott, who shelled out $75 million in his 2010 campaign, with more than $20 million going to television ads. Crist has spent just $5 million on  TV ads. However, dollars and cents might not necessarily win hearts, minds or votes. Even as spending on the Florida gubernatorial campaign is expected to top a combined $150 million, with 2/3rds spent by Scott,  June polls indicate the contenders are neck and neck.

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