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California billionaire Steyer joins Democratic race; plans to spend $100 million

NASHUA – Billionaire investor. Anti-fossil fuel activist. Strident proponent of impeaching President Donald Trump.

San Francisco resident Tom Steyer fits each of these descriptions. On Tuesday, Steyer decided to enter the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

“We need the broadest democracy possible to take back our government from the corporations that now control it and have stolen the rights of everyday Americans,” Steyer states on his campaign website. “Only a broad-based grassroots movement can restore power, fairness and prosperity to the people.”

Steyer entered the presidential race only hours after fellow Californian, U.S. Rep. Eric Swalwell, abandoned his White House bid. This means the number of Democrats running for president remains at 25.

“I thank my supporters and friends, my staff, and my family for making this journey possible. I’ll never forget the people I met and lessons I learned while traveling around our great nation – especially in the communities most affected by gun violence,” Swalwell stated while leaving the presidential race. “Too many communities feel this pain. But in every community’s grief, I see people who love one another and have inside themselves the grit to get things done to end gun violence once and for all.”

Steyer’s Run

“If this is a banana republic with a few very rich people and everybody else is living in misery, that’s a failure,” Steyer stated in a video message via Twitter on Tuesday.

Steyer confirmed to The Associated Press on Tuesday that he would spend at least $100 million on his campaign.

“Americans are deeply disappointed and hurt by the way they’re treated by what they think is the power elite in Washington, D.C. – and that goes across party lines and it goes across geography. We’ve got to take the corporate control out of our politics,” Steyer continued in his video.

In addition to working to impeach Trump, Steyer has long been a large campaign contributor to Democrats who are committed to stopping coal, oil and natural gas.

Though Steyer certainly fits in the Democratic Party on social and environmental issues, his obvious personal wealth would seem to put him at odds with the party’s progressive wing. This is particularly true in the case of fellow presidential contenders Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

Shortly after Steyer confirmed his candidacy on Tuesday, Warren tweeted: “The Democratic primary should not be decided by billionaires, whether they’re funding Super PACs or funding themselves. The strongest Democratic nominee in the general will have a coalition that’s powered by a grassroots movement.”

“I am a bit tired of seeing billionaires trying to buy political power,” Sanders added via Twitter.

Scheduled for this weekend:

Multiple Democratic presidential candidates are scheduled to appear in Greater Nashua this weekend. As of late Tuesday, events include:

• Former Vice President Joe Biden of Delaware:

2 p.m. Saturday at Mack’s Apples, 230 Mammoth Road, Londonderry.

• U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey:

11 a.m. Saturday at Nashua Community College, 505 Amherst St.

• Former Texas congressman Beto O’Rourke:

2 p.m. Sunday at Nashua Unitarian Universalist Church, 58 Lowell St.