Tom Steyer: I'm Not Sure I'm Running for Senate, But Here's What I'll Say If I Do

The billionaire climate activist isn't committing to a bid for the California seat that Barbara Boxer is vacating.

Tom Steyer used a blog post Tuesday to announce he hasn't decided yet whether to jump into the race to succeed California Democrat Barbara Boxer.

But the billionaire former hedge-fund manager, in his Huffington Post piece, publicly laid out the themes of the potential campaign after days of private meetings and calls to weigh a bid.

"California Democrats are blessed to have a deep bench of talent, and I will decide soon based on what I think is the best way to continue the hard work we've already started together to prevent climate disaster and preserve American prosperity," he writes.

The post is heavy on the threat of climate change ("I've always said that climate change is the defining issue of our generation"). But it also spends lots of space seeking to show that Steyer's advocacy extends far beyond the climate activism that he's best known for.

Here's a blurb:

I am passionate about preserving the rights and opportunities of current and future Americans. That has meant fighting to stop global warming. It has meant working with my wife, Kat Taylor, to lend money in underserved communities through the nonprofit community development bank we started—Beneficial State Bank. It has meant working through our nonprofit, The Center for the Next Generation, to support efforts to make sure children 0-5 get the chance to have a fair start in life.

Steyer, as National Journal reported here, could have significant liabilities as a Senate hopeful, but advantages as well.

The billionaire Steyer's wealth will enable him to buy the media and field presence needed in a race where analysts say a winning campaign could cost $100 million.

But he also faces headwinds heading into a race likely to feature better known and more-experienced candidates. Kamala Harris, the state's Democratic attorney general, has already entered the race.

Other potential Democratic hopefuls include Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and a handful of House members, including Loretta Sanchez and Jackie Speier.

Sanchez moved closer to launching a bid on Tuesday. She said on Facebook that for nearly two decades in Congress she has "focused on putting California's working families first" and cited her work on health care, immigration, and education.

"Californians deserve a strong voice in Washington, and I have never been afraid to speak up, which is why I am seriously considering running for the United States Senate in 2016," she said.

Steyer, a Bay area resident, has a stable of Democratic political operatives already working with his NextGen Climate group as he lays the groundwork for a potential campaign. They include Jim Margolis, who was a media strategist for President Obama's campaigns.

Steyer adviser Josie Mooney comes out of California's labor movement, while another senior adviser, Sky Gallegos, had top campaign roles in California for Bill Clinton and for John Kerry when he ran for president in 2004.