NextGen Climate, a San Francisco-based environmental advocacy group established and largely funded by Thomas F. Steyer, has launched a campaign to register and mobilize young voters in seven key battleground states with the goal of electing climate champions to the White House and U.S. Senate this fall.
Steyer, the group's president, told the New York Times he expects to spend at least $25 million on the effort. A 2010 signatory to the Giving Pledge, Steyer spent $74 million in the 2014 midterm elections, including $67 million in support of candidates who embraced climate change as a campaign issue. While Democrats lost control of the Senate and lost additional seats in the House, three of the senatorial and gubernatorial candidates the organization supported won their elections.
In 2014, Steyer's group spent heavily on costly television advertising. This time, taking a page from Americans for Prosperity, the conservative group backed by Charles and David Koch, NextGen Climate's efforts will focus on person-to-person contact, voter registration, and a get-out-the-vote ground game. For instance, it is training teams to mobilize young voters on more than two hundred college campuses and across seven states using data-driven field strategies, digital tools, and creative tactics. As part of that effort, the group also will continue its Climate Organizing Fellowship Program, which aims to develop climate leaders eager to push for climate action and clean energy solutions through November and beyond.
"Millennials are the biggest cohort in this election cycle," Steyer told the Times. "When they do engage, it can make a difference in these states. This is about turnout and letting millennials' voices be heard."