Steyer says Nevada caucus "super important" to his campaign

Scott Sonner
Associated Press

Reno, Nev. – Democratic presidential hopeful Tom Steyer says his campaign is fine but he has to do “very well” in Nevada’s caucuses next week after failing to gain any traction in Iowa or New Hampshire.

The California billionaire, who has spent millions of dollars on television ads and mailers in Nevada, continued a three-day statewide bus tour Wednesday.

“It’s my neighboring state, a place where I’m doing well, where I have to do really well,” Steyer told reporters Tuesday night in Reno, where he spoke to to about 200 people at the National Automobile Museum.

Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., left, and businessman Tom Steyer speak together during a break in a Democratic presidential primary debate, Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, hosted by ABC News, Apple News, and WMUR-TV at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Steyer said he wasn’t dismayed by his sixth place finish in New Hampshire and said any talk that he’s considering dropping out of the race is “ridiculous.”

“I think I’m doing fine,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a whole new race coming out of New Hampshire.”

Steyer said his NextGen advocacy group has been organizing in Nevada for seven years and helped knock on 500,000 doors during the 2016 election to get out the Democratic vote. The party swept the governor’s office and both houses of the Legislature.

“It is not a new state to me,” he said. “This is a state I’ve spent a lot of time in. We have a great team here on the ground. I really feel this is a super important state for me.”

Steyer appeared Tuesday in rural Gardnerville, where he said he made 50-cents-an-hour as a ranch hand 43 years ago.

“People think of me as a rich person but I don’t think of my self 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.

“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.”