Tom Steyer’s environment-focused NextGen Climate super PAC will spend $6.5 million before November to reach millennial voters in Pennsylvania.
The group is already active on more than 70 college campuses in the state, and will announce plans to expand to 22 more on Thursday. The group said in a statement to The Huffington Post that it is ready to spend more than half of the $6.5 million on campus engagement, and $2.87 million on off-campus efforts.
Steyer, a billionaire environmentalist and former hedge fund manager, said in April that NextGen Climate would spend about $25 million to register young voters across the country and educate them on climate and energy issues as well as the stances of presidential and senatorial candidates.
“The opportunity is for NextGen Climate to be part of a process of turning out young voters, which is what we’re focused on this election, so we can put progressive champions in office,” said NextGen Climate press secretary Galen Alexander. “It’s really about [Pennsylvania] being a swing state and being in play this year.”
The super PAC is targeting millennial voters in eight states, including the other battleground states of Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, North Carolina and Ohio.
NextGen Climate’s planned expansion in Pennsylvania would make the state the single biggest target of the political action committee’s youth voting efforts in 2016 in terms of money spent and people reached, with plans to get to 575,000 college students in the state.
Steyer founded the super PAC in 2013 and spent more than $74 million in the 2014 midterm elections. But the billionaire’s efforts saw mixed results: only three of the seven Democratic Senate candidates he backed won.
Millennials ― generally defined as people between the ages of 18 and 34 ― surpassed baby boomers as the country’s largest living generation earlier this year, according to a Pew Research Center report. That makes millennials an increasingly sought-after voting bloc for political campaigns. The generation helped propel Barack Obama to victory in 2008 and 2012.
Republicans haven’t won a presidential election in Pennsylvania since 1988. But it has emerged as a key swing state in 2016. And with more than 400 institutions of higher learning, young voters are likely to play an important role in how the state votes.
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