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PA-Gov Round-Up: Who is Tom Steyer and How Did He Get in This Race?

PA-Governor-Mansion2This week, all of a sudden, a third Tom popped up in the race for PA Governor.


It all began last Friday when NextGen, a 501(c)(4) organization founded by billionaire Tom Steyer that focuses on climate change, launched a TV ad criticizing Gov. Corbett for his support of oil and gas companies.

The Corbett-Cawley campaign responded later that day by labeling Steyer a “San Francisco billionaire” and questioning his motives and qualifications.

“Tom Steyer is a hypocrite who made his fortune by investing in the coal industry who is now waging a war on coal because it will benefit him financially,” Communications Director Chris Pack stated.

Meanwhile, Steyer found himself under fire when the New York Times reported on investments his firm had made in fossil fuel industries. Steyer wrote a response in Politico Magazine explaining how, as he also states on NextGen’s website, he left the organization after a personal revelation lead him to focus on the dangers of climate change.

The Corbett campaign and the RGA continued to hammer Steyer throughout the week and called on Wolf to denounce him.

“Liberal California billionaire Tom Steyer masquerades as an environmentalist, but his bottom line tells a different story,” RGA Communications Director Gail Gitcho said. “Steyer uses his wealth and connections to influence government officials to push his own agenda, so it’s no surprise he’s bankrolling Tom Wolf’s campaign with misleading attacks on the same kind of energy projects that Pennsylvanians rely on.”

The practice of turning a high-profile political contributor into a partisan boogeyman is a common political tactic. Republicans have regularly denounced Hungarian magnate George Soros ever since he pledged to oust then-President George W. Bush in 2003. Similarly, Democrats have ceaselessly used the Koch Brothers as a foil ever since Jane Mayer wrote a seminal New Yorker piece on Charles and David Koch.

It appears Steyer is becoming the next figure of scorn and Pennsylvania’s gubernatorial race is where it all started.


On the other side, Democratic nominee Tom Wolf sought to fight back against the Governor’s own attack ad concerning Wolf’s time as Secretary of Revenue.

“It’s not a surprise that Tom Corbett is attacking Tom Wolf with misleading and false ads. Pennsylvanians are ready for a fresh start, especially after more than three years of Tom Corbett’s failed leadership,” said Wolf Campaign Spokesman Jeffrey Sheridan. “Under Tom Corbett, education has suffered, gas companies aren’t paying their fair share, and Pennsylvania has fallen to the bottom in job creation. Tom Corbett has increased the tax burden on the middle class, while letting his top donors off the hook.”

Sheridan also took umbrage at the assertion that Wolf was trying to hide his time in Governor Rendell’s cabinet from the voters.

“Tom proudly mentioned his time as Revenue Secretary throughout the campaign including in his first TV ad,” he wrote. “While Secretary of Revenue, Tom instituted reforms that protected and strengthened the state lottery, which laid the foundation for millions of dollars in additional benefits for our seniors. As Revenue Secretary, Tom turned down the perks and donated his salary to charity. He even drove his own Jeep all across Pennsylvania to meet with 2,000+ workers and learn more about their jobs.”

9 Responses

  1. LION, anyone who didn’t study economics in the USSR understands that the EPA’s needless regs on coal power have jacked up the price on poor people. You can blame the power company for not giving it away, but then again we’re not living in the USSR. Try living in reality. The energy policies you like have been awful hard on the poor. Fact.

  2. @Unsanctioned R – Are you a billionaire? Because if not, why the hell are you defending dirty coal power plants and the billionaires who own them. They can eat the cost when the new EPA Regulations go into effect instead of passing down the cost to the consumer, not just poor people. The manufactured so called ‘war on coal’ doesn’t exist. Those people will be ultimately re-trained for good paying renewable energy jobs that are created with the new economy that is currently being built if your oil and coal buddies would get out of the way. If you are not a billionaire then you’ve got no business voting republican. 🙂

  3. John,
    Glad you didn’t question the bono fides of the Greenpeace founder. He of course agrees with the Prime Minister.

  4. Running on this idea, Abbott won in a “landslide.”

    When Obama shuts down coal power plants, he makes electricity for poor people more expensive. Peggy points out the rich are getting richer, and Tom Steyer is one of Obama’s cuddly friends who benefits from forcing the use of expensive alternative energy sources on the poor huddled masses.

  5. “Unsanctioned R on July 18, 2014 at 5:05 pm said: ‘Bet you didn’t know Australia’s prime minister just called climate science, “Absolute Crap.’”

    Exactly what are Anthony John “Tony” Abbott’s qualifications to say “climate science” is “Absolute Crap?”

  6. Peggy,
    How have the poor been doing under our “leadership?” How has inflation affected your family budget? Aren’t you like most Americans who feel less well off?

  7. Revitup, how was your 401K doing in 2008 with a Republican President? How is it doing in 2014 with a Democrat as President?

  8. Yet another phoney Billionaire Democrat who wants to join the new world order of liberal dems. Better hope Corbett gets re-elected or watch for a massive immigrant influx courtesy of BHO and his billionaire owners. BTW the state sores need to be sold to the private sector. Elect a dem and watch how much faster this state and the rest of the country go to He!!.

  9. Bet you didn’t know Australia’s prime minister just called climate science, “Absolute Crap.”

    Our liberal media are too proud to admit when they’re wrong to report prominent alternate interpretations of the evidence. And as the co-founder of Greenpeace noted last week, Americans are too science illiterate to discern that they’re being lied to (bet you didn’t know that either).

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