Steyer: ‘Shock the world’ in Ne­vada

Antelope Valley Press - - NEWS - By SCOTT SONNER

RENO, Nev.— Cal­i­for­nia bil­lion­aire Tom Steyer said Wed­nes­day he’s poised to “shock the world” next week with a good show­ing in the Ne­vada cau­cuses that he says is nec­es­sary for him to even­tu­ally win a “wide open” race for the Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial nom­i­na­tion.

Steyer in­sisted his cam­paign is “do­ing fine” de­spite fail­ing to gain trac­tion in Iowa or New Hamp­shire. But he ac­knowl­edged while kick­ing off a three-day Ne­vada bus tour Tues­day that he has to do “very well” at the Feb. 22 cau­cus in his neigh­bor­ing state, then carry that mo­men­tum into South Carolina’s pri­mary a week later.

He told about 150 peo­ple in Reno on Wed­nes­day he’s op­ti­mistic about his chances be­cause polls in both states show him gain­ing on the front-run­ners, and the elec­torate in the next two con­tests is vastly more di­verse than the mostly white vot­ers in the pre­vi­ous two.

Sen. Bernie San­ders and former South Bend, In­di­ana, Mayor Pete But­tigieg claimed the top spots in Iowa and New Hamp­shire, where Steyer fin­ished seventh and sixth, re­spec­tively.

“If I do well in Ne­vada, that is go­ing to be a gi­gan­tic shock-the-world mo­ment,” Steyer said. “If I do well in Ne­vada and do well in South Carolina, that’s a state­ment about the di­verse Demo­cratic coali­tion that peo­ple have to have.”

He said the race cur­rently is “ab­so­lutely wide open.”

“We’re now com­ing into the states where I’m in sec­ond or third place and mov­ing up,” he said, not­ing that a win in Ne­vada and then in South Carolina would mean “we have a com­pletely dif­fer­ent race.”

Den­nis Sil­ver, 73, a re­tired mail carrier from Sparks who worked phone banks for San­ders in 2016, said he was un­de­cided on a can­di­date un­til he heard Steyer speak Tues­day night and now plans to vol­un­teer for his cam­paign this week­end.

“All the other Democrats, they’ve just been fight­ing among them­selves and that’s the worst thing we can do,” Sil­ver said.

Steyer, who has spent mil­lions of dol­lars on tele­vi­sion ads and mail­ers in Ne­vada, said he’s been in the state more than any other can­di­date. Be­fore a speech to about 200 peo­ple at the Na­tional Au­to­mo­bile Mu­seum in Reno Tues­day night, he said Ne­vada is a “su­per im­por­tant state” for his cam­paign and “I have to do re­ally well.”

He said a po­lit­i­cal ac­tion com­mit­tee tied to his Next-Gen ad­vo­cacy group has been or­ga­niz­ing in Ne­vada for seven years and helped knock on 500,000 doors dur­ing the 2018 elec­tion to get out the Demo­cratic vote. The party won the gov­er­nor’s of­fice and ma­jori­ties in both houses of the Leg­is­la­ture.

Steyer opened his bus tour Tues­day in ru­ral Gard­nerville, where he said he made 50 cents an hour as a ranch hand 43 years ago. He was headed to Car­son City Wed­nes­day night then on to Las Ve­gas for two Thurs­day ap­pear­ances, trav­el­ing in his blue-and-orange tour bus with “TOM 2020” on the side and painted mes­sages that said “Of, by and for the peo­ple” and “Cli­mate is my #1 pri­or­ity.”

“Peo­ple think of me as a rich per­son but I don’t think of my­self that way at all,” he said. “I started my own busi­ness. I never in­her­ited a sin­gle dime from my par­ents.”

Ne­vada vot­ers ap­pear most con­cerned about who can beat Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on the econ­omy, he said, adding Wed­nes­day that he be­lieves “this elec­tion is go­ing to be won or lost on the econ­omy.”

“I spent 30 years as a busi­ness per­son. I can take him down on that,” he said, call­ing

Trump a “fake busi­ness per­son.”

“This is a guy who failed in casi­nos. That’s not easy to do and he did it over and over,” he said.

Trump cam­paign spokesman Keith Schip­per said Steyer spent New Hamp­shire’s pri­mary day in Ne­vada af­ter a “hu­mil­i­at­ing loss” in Iowa to try to keep his “drown­ing cam­paign afloat.”

“Vot­ers are soundly re­ject­ing the Cal­i­for­nia bil­lion­aire be­cause he would dec­i­mate the roar­ing suc­cess seen un­der the lead­er­ship of Pres­i­dent Trump,” he said.

Steyer said he’s the best can­di­date to con­front Trump’s lies and half-truths about the econ­omy.

Trump “says the econ­omy is grow­ing. It is grow­ing, slowly. But all the money is go­ing to rich peo­ple and he’s mak­ing sure that hap­pens,” Steyer said. “He talks about the stock mar­ket go­ing up. It is — but it’s largely be­cause these cor­po­ra­tions no longer pay any sort of rea­son­able taxes.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Demo­cratic pres­i­den­tial hope­ful Tom Steyer lis­tens to a U.S. mil­i­tary vet­eran af­ter speak­ing to about 200 peo­ple dur­ing a town hall gather­ing Tues­day at the Na­tional Au­to­mo­bile Mu­seum in Reno, Nev.

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