Environmentalist billionaire Tom Steyer is testing his influence in the Virginia gubernatorial election in support of Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe, with his political group preparing to spend a large amount of money in the race.
Steyer is a San Francisco billionaire who used to work as a hedge fund manager, and is using his super PAC "NextGen Climate Action" to launch television ads to mobilize environmentalist voters to turn out in the gubernatorial race in support of McAuliffe in the Old Dominion, Politico reports
Steyer told Politico that he hopes to send a message to the country about the power of climate-oriented politics.
"I would say there's a very clear choice on this topic between these two candidates, and I think the citizens of Virginia deserve to understand both what the truth is and what the implications of that are," he said.
The issue of climate has already come up in governor's race. McAuliffe ran ads against Cuccinelli for what he calls a "witch hunt" that Cuccinelli launched as state attorney general into University of Virginia's climate scientist Michael Mann. Cuccinelli was trying to determine whether or not Mann was manipulating his data.
The Virginia Supreme Court ruled that Cuccinelli did not have the power to organize an investigation into Mann's work, and Mann was cleared of all allegations.
In turn, Cuccinelli is trying to paint McAuliffe as an enemy of the coal industry.
This is the second major electoral campaign that Steyer has become involved with. Previously, he supported Democrat Ed Markey in the Massachusetts' Senate race to replace John Kerry, who is now U. S. Secretary of State.
Steyer made the candidates' views on climate change and the Keystone XL oil pipeline key issues in the Massachusetts race.
Steyer, credited by environmentalists for making the Keystone pipeline debate a central issue, has successfully thrown his support behind ballot initiatives in his own state of California.
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