Tom Steyer hoping a strong showing in Nevada, South Carolina will get 'some attention' for his campaign

The California billionaire joined ABC's "This Week" on Sunday.

February 16, 2020, 10:11 AM

California businessman Tom Steyer defended his exorbitant spending to boost his presidential bid in an interview on ABC News’ "This Week" on Sunday, arguing that despite a poor showing in the first two nominating contests, his progressive message and policy agenda will resonate with voters of color in the more diverse states of Nevada and South Carolina.

“I’m not a famous person but I've been on the ground in Nevada and South Carolina, meeting people face-to-face and doing really well," Steyer said.

"And if I can show I can put together that coalition and take that momentum into Super Tuesday with the kind of diverse coalition that I believe I'm building ... that will give me the momentum,” he added.

Steyer has failed to break through in any of the voting contests so far, finishing a distant seventh in the Iowa caucuses and sixth in the New Hampshire primary despite spending millions of dollars. When pressed on the lack of delegates he’s received, Steyer said his late start to the race has hurt him.

“I was the last person into this race. I wanted to compete in all the early primary states but in fact what we have seen is, on the ground in Nevada and South Carolina, I'm doing really well and that's what the polls say,” Steyer said, noting that he poured $200 million of his own money into his campaign.

Steyer’s pitch to voters is his 30 years of experience in business. But a recent Quinnipiac poll showed 70% of Americans say the economy is excellent or strong.

When pressed on how he would convince voters that President Trump is failing on the economy, Steyer questioned if the numbers reflected the realities many voters face.

“There's a different story of this economy and this country that has to be told,” Steyer said. “I can take [Trump] on that because it has to be shown that this economy isn't working. The vast bulk of Americans and this president is dangerous to them in terms of money and in terms of health care and in terms of retirement."

Steyer has consistently argued that he is the candidate with the diverse coalition needed to defeat Trump in November.

“I think that these are different states and I believe that it’s going to be incumbent on anybody running to show that they can put together a diverse coalition in states...that reflect the diversity of the country and the diversity of the Democratic Party and so I’m looking forward to that challenge,” Steyer told ABC News in Las Vegas on Saturday.

The California billionaire, who has poured over $200 million of his own money into his campaign, has recently been more aggressive in his attacks, labeling former Vice President Joe Biden an “insider” and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg an “untested newcomer” in a new television ad.

"We have to be able to beat [Trump] on the debate stage on the economy, and you can't do that unless you have the experience and expertise to go toe-to-toe with him and take him down. He's a liar. He's definitely beatable. He's lying and the American people have to know that. But if you don't have the experience you can't do it,” Steyer told ABC News after an event in Keene, New Hampshire, earlier this month.

Steyer has yet to earn the necessary support in polls approved by the Democratic National Committee to be included in the next debate.

Related Topics

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events