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Billionaire Climate Change Activist Tom Steyer Plans $100 Million Ad Push In 2014 Elections

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TOM STEYER
FILE -- In this Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013 file photo, businessman Tom Steyer speaks during a meeting to announce the launch of a group called Virginians for Clean Government at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va., Steyer, a billionaire environmentalist, says he will launch a campaign next year urging California lawmakers to approve taxes on companies that extract oil in the state. The major Democratic donor said Monday, Dec. 16, 2013 that he thinks it is ridiculous that California | ASSOCIATED PRESS

Billionaire retired investor Tom Steyer is planning a $100 million push to make climate change a key issue in the 2014 midterm elections, the New York Times reports.

According to the Times, Steyer wants to make his group, NextGen Climate Action, a critical player in this year's races by putting $50 million of his own funds into the San Francisco-based group and seeking an additional $50 million from outside donors. The former hedge fund manager reportedly met with two dozen liberal donors earlier this month to offer details on his plan.

NBC News confirmed the report Tuesday.

Steyer emerged on the national scene last year when he spent close to $8 million backing Democrat Terry McAuliffe's campaign for Virginia governor. He funded ads going after Republican nominee Ken Cuccinelli's environmental record, painting the then-Virginia Attorney General as an extremist.

He's also been a major advocate against construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. During President Barack Obama's State of the Union address last month, Steyer's group aired an ad describing the controversial pipeline as a "sucker punch to America's heartland." And earlier this month, he penned a letter to John Kerry urging the secretary of state to review the environmental impact statement released by the State Department last month that found the project would not impact greenhouse gas emissions.

Steyer has already eyed one potential 2014 target -- Sen. Mary Landrieu's (D-La.) reelection campaign. Last month, his group included Landrieu on a list of potential targets for his next anti-Keystone ad, calling on supporters to vote on who should be the subject of the attack. Landrieu, a supporter of the pipeline, was the only Democrat on the list.

The Times reports that Steyer is also looking at Florida Governor Rick Scott's (R) reelection bid, as well as the Iowa Senate race.

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