On the Trail: Steyer beats Trump impeachment drum across N.H.

  • Tom Steyer, co-founder of NextGen Climate Action Committee, speaks during the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco on Sept. 14, 2018. MUST CREDIT: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg David Paul Morris

For the Monitor
Published: 1/17/2019 4:49:19 PM

Tom Steyer may not be running for the White House, but he says he’s still on a mission to oust President Donald Trump from the White House.

“I felt like I started this. I’m going to finish the job,” Steyer told the Monitor on Thursday.

The billionaire environmental and progressive activist was interviewed hours before he held a town hall in Hanover focused on his push to impeach Trump.

“I made the decision to finish the job and push as hard as I could to make sure that our president was impeached and removed from office as soon as possible, because I feel as if the biggest threat to the United States for a generation is this disaster of a president, the most corrupt president in history,” Steyer said.

Steyer said he’s uniquely positioned to lead the Trump impeachment movement.

“There’s no one else who’s going to do this organizing work if we don’t do it,” he said. “There’s no one else who started 15 months ago pushing for this and now has seven million people who’ve signed up.”

Twenty to thirty thousand more people sign his “need to impeach” petition each day, he added.

Since leaving his hedge fund operation in 2012 to concentrate on political activism, Steyer’s been one of the Democratic Party’s leading donors. Six years ago he formed NextGen America, which he touts as one of the largest political organizing groups of those under 35. He spent $120 million in the 2018 cycle to influence the elections. Democrats convincingly won back the U.S. House in the midterms, and kept losses in the Senate to a minimum in an election map that overwhelming favored the GOP.

With the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race heating up, Steyer said he’s not sure if he’ll eventually take sides in the nomination battle. But he offered that “we’ll certainly want to push people on impeachment.”

He added that if Democratic presidential candidates don’t advocate for impeachment, “we should be challenging them and holding them accountable.”

And he vowed that NextGen America will continue its efforts in the 2020 cycle, including in New Hampshire, where it had a large presence last year.

“We’re going to be organizing young people the way we did in 2018, 2016, 2014. We’ll be on the campuses. We’ll be on social media,” he emphasized.

Location, location, location

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts returns to New Hampshire on Friday.

The visit comes less than a week after she held her first event in the first-in-the-nation primary state since launching a presidential exploratory committee on Dec. 31.

The progressive torch bearer held a town hall type event last Saturday in Manchester in front of some 600 people. She later headlined a jam-packed house party at the Concord home of former state Senate President Sylvia Larsen.

On Friday, she heads to Claremont, where she’ll hold what’s billed as an organizing event at the local Common Man restaurant.

And the location is interesting. Claremont borders Vermont, home of independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is seriously mulling a second straight bid for the Democratic nomination. If Sanders does launch a campaign, he and Warren would be battling for the increasingly influential progressive vote in New Hampshire.

Sanders crushed eventual nominee Hillary Clinton by more than a two-to-one margin in Claremont in the 2016 Democratic presidential primary. The small city also happens to be the home of Sanders’ son Levi, who ran unsuccessfully last year for Congress in the state’s First District.

“I think she’s clearly trying to harvest Bernie people,” former state Sen. Burt Cohen said.

“Claremont was a strong area for Bernie and it’s an important area within New Hampshire. But there are lots of other people running who will be interested in Bernie supporters, possibly including Bernie himself,” added Cohen, a member of the Sanders steering committee who served as a Sanders delegate at the 2016 Democratic convention in Philadelphia.

Kasich’s new ‘bully pulpit’

As John Kasich finished his second term as Ohio governor this week, the 2016 Republican presidential candidate – who’s mulling a 2020 primary challenge against the president –  announced he had signed with CNN as a senior political commentator.

“He wants to be a part of the discussion going forward. He cares a great deal about where the country is going and how it’s getting there, the state of the division that exists in this country, and this is a bully pulpit for him,” former New Hampshire Attorney General and longtime GOP consultant Tom Rath told the Monitor.

“It’s a way to remain a part of the discussion, be part of the dialogue and he has a voice he wants to use to try to drive Americans to a better place,” added Rath, a senior advisor on Kasich’s 2016 campaign who remains close with the now-former governor.

Rath said going on CNN gives Kasich “visibility that just being a former governor would not necessarily give him. It allows him to be current.”

Kasich hosted a show last decade on Fox News Channel, which is considered Republican leaning. So why go on CNN, which is considered by many to be a center-left cable news network?

“Where he needs to be is the responsible, centrist, Republican vote, the Eisenhower Republican, the Judd Gregg Republican,” Rath said. “The Republican who is not of the extreme that Trump is. That audience is not necessarily the one that Fox reaches.”

Kelly weighs in on Gillibrand bid

 

Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York announced the launch of a presidential exploratory committee earlier this week – and is expected to visit New Hampshire later this month.

The senator was last in the Granite State in October, to campaign for 2018 Democratic gubernatorial nominee and former state senator Molly Kelly.

Kelly said she’s thrilled Gillibrand is making a White House bid, but added it’s way too early for her to endorse anyone.

“At this point, I just want to be here to welcome people to New Hampshire who are running and make sure they get to meet as many people as they can,” she said.

But she praised the number of women running or thinking of running for the Democratic nomination.

“We are a country of real diversity and we pride ourselves on that. And we see that in many of the people who are running and I think it’s great that more women are running for president,” she said.

2020 traffic

Former three-term U.S. Rep John Delaney will be in New Hampshire on Friday and Saturday. He’s making his 13th trip to the state since launching his White House bid in July of 2017. Washington State Gov. Jay Inslee will be in the Granite State on Monday and Tuesday. An aide to former New York City Michael Bloomberg said the billionaire activist will be in the state on Jan. 29. Congressman Seth Moulton of Massachusetts – also mulling a White House bid – makes a trip across the border on Feb. 2. And Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio will be in the state in early February, as part of a listening and learning tour.




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