Despite Missing Upcoming Debate, Steyer Continues Campaign

Melissa Culross
September 03, 2019 - 9:01 am
Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer (L), a billionaire hedge fund manager and activist, poses for a selfie at the Iowa State Fair August 11, 2019 in Des Moines, Iowa.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

San Francisco billionaire Tom Steyer said he's not giving up his campaign to be the Democratic nominee for president next year even though he failed to qualify for the debate later this month in Houston. 

Steyer, a hedge fund manager and environmental activist, gathered donations from 130,000 individuals — meeting one requirement to appear at the September 12 debate — but never rose to 2% support in the requisite polls. 

"I'm disappointed not to be there," Steyer said to KCBS Radio. 

But he said that some polls show him at 7% in states that vote early in the nominating process, which is why he'll continue with his quest.

Those polls weren't recognized by Democratic Party officials who set the criteria for debate qualifications. 

"I can't worry about it," he said. 

Without access to the large national audiences that watch the debates, San Jose State professor emeritus Larry Gerston said candidates like Steyer are wise to concentrate on the first states to vote next year. 

"The best thing they can do, at least for now, is go to Iowa, go to New Hampshire, go to those early states and use their time to become better known as a viable candidate," he said. 

Only 10 Democratic candidates from the packed field, including former Vice President Joe Biden and senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris reached the standards to participate in the Houston debate.