Billionaire Tom Steyer suggested Thursday that he doesn’t think of himself as a wealthy man because his mother is from Minnesota and worked as a school teacher in New York’s public schools.
“So let me say this. I know that people describe me as being a rich person, but that isn’t how I think of myself,” Steyer said during a campaign stop in Iowa ahead of the caucuses. “My mom was from Minneapolis, Minnesota.”
He went on to explain how he came from modest beginnings.
“She ended up being a school teacher in the New York public schools and teaching prisoners at the New York House of Detention. My uncle Sam, who was her brother, actually for 45 years was a law professor at the University of Iowa in Iowa City,” Steyer said.
“And my aunt Betsy turned 100 in Iowa City on Dec. 15th of last year,” he added.
Steyer, a former hedge fund manager, has dumped roughly $139 million into his presidential campaign, Axios reported Tuesday. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is also running for president, is at the top of the heap, pumping $262 million into the race.
Steyer has a poor track record of backing successful campaigns. He spent about $86 million in the 2016 election cycle, for instance, in a losing bid to get Democrats elected. His political group NextGen Climate, meanwhile, spent about $56 million in 2016, according to campaign finance data.
The California billionaire once compared himself to David in a David and Goliath-like fight against wealthy conservative groups working to influence climate policy issues.
“I see this as a David and Goliath situation,” Steyer, who earned his billions as a hedge fund manager, said in a 2016 interview on This Golden State, a podcast hosted by with former journalist and communications consultant Randy Shandobil.
Steyer’s campaign did not immediately return a request for comment.
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