Liberal billionaire Tom Steyer is considering running for Barbara Boxer’s U.S. Senate seat, according to Politico, and the media are thrilled. The media have pressured liberal billionaire Tom Steyer to run for office before, and as soon as Boxer’s seat opened up they began suggesting him as a viable replacement.
According to the Jan. 9 Politico piece, “[a]lmost as soon as Boxer announced that she would not seek reelection in 2016, Steyer began reviewing polling data and making calls to California labor and political figures, associates said. And he is consulting with the contacts he made while running two multi-million-dollar advocacy campaigns focused on statewide ballot measures in 2010 and 2012.”
Politico also noted that “[a]s far back as 2013, when asked about his political ambitions, Steyer told POLITICO, ‘I am willing to do a lot of things to address the generational challenge we face. I will say that.’” Steyer spent more than $74 million on campaigns in 2014, but his efforts ranged from ineffective to inaccurate. Politico even called some of his ads “bizzare,” while The Washington Post gave another “four Pinocchios,” the most scathing falsehood rating that the Post can give to something.
The 74-year-old Barbara Boxer announced on Jan. 8 that she won’t be seeking re-election in 2016. The Sacramento Bee also mentioned that Sen. Dianne Feinstein “who will be 85 in 2018, could also retire.”
Time magazine’s online service, The Washington Post and the local Los Angeles NBC affiliate lost no time in listing among “as possible candidates” to replace Boxer. Time described Steyer as “a hedge-fund manager who spent billions backing candidates who promoted action on climate change in the 2014 election cycle,” but failed to mention how poorly those candidates had fared.
Even before Boxer’s resignation was announced, print media outlets had asked Steyer if he would consider running for political office. Steyer has been a media darling for years. The New York Times even called him “the most influential environmentalist in American politics,” while The Washington Post classified him as a “climate change radical.” And, as The Sacramento Bee pointed out, Steyer “can afford” to finance his own campaign. But these media outlets fail to mention that while he was campaigning against fossil fuels in the United States, Steyer was making money off of coal mining in Australia as late as 2013.
This isn’t the first time that Steyer would have considered a job in politics either. According to San Francisco Gate, the hometown newspaper for Steyer’s primary residence, he “was considered a shoo-in for a position in Kerry’s administration.”
Steyer was also rumored as a possible replacement for Energy Secretary Steven Chu, although he told The San Francisco Business Times that he would be “awfully surprised” if President Obama asked him to take that position.
Up until this point, Steyer has stuck to funding other people running for office instead of running himself, but with little success. In 2014, he spent more than $74 million on liberal candidates, most of which ended up losing. Even the three candidates he funded who won owed little or nothing to Steyer.