the YouTube guy
Billionaire Tom Steyer has plenty of cash to burn on 2020 ads, and he has already outspent every one of his opponents.
The 2020 Democratic candidate and impeachment advocate has dropped $12 million on digital and television ads, The New York Times reports, noting that this is more than every other Democratic candidate in the race. That's especially notable considering Steyer only declared his candidacy six weeks ago, whereas most of his competitors have been at it for at least a few months. The majority of candidates in the race also didn't raise more than $12 million last quarter, but Steyer's net worth is estimated to be $1.6 billion, per Forbes.
Clearly, these ads are reaching voters, with the Times reporting on Steyer being frequently recognized for his commercials while on the campaign trail. One woman in Iowa reportedly yelled at him, "Hey, it’s the YouTube guy!" Then again, that's something she might have said even before Steyer entered the 2020 race, as he also appeared in advertisements for his organization Need to Impeach advocating for the impeachment of President Trump. The Times reports that Steyer has also spent more than his opponents online, dropping $3.9 million on Facebook alone.
Steyer has drawn enough individual donors to qualify for the third presidential debate, and he also has cracked two percent support in three qualifying polls, just one shy away from getting into the event. FiveThirtyEight notes that Steyer's polls in which he passes two percent come from the early states where he's dropping advertising cash, but he hasn't yet passed that threshold in a national qualifying poll.
It's unclear whether Steyer will get that fourth poll in time to qualify for the September debate, as the deadline is Aug. 28, though if he doesn't, the Times notes that he's "on track to make the stage in October."