Politicians fight back as hedge funders ramp up election spending

Wall Street ramps up political spending

Tom Steyer's attempt to pick political fights over climate change appears to be working.

"Tom Steyer is an out-of-state, hyper-partisan, hedge-fund billionaire who is using his fortune to unseat Republicans he doesn't like," said Peter Steele, a spokesman for Steyer-target Paul LePage, the Maine governor who is running for re-election. "While liberal billionaires are trying to buy votes, the governor is focused on balancing environmental concerns with the need to attract businesses and increase career opportunities for middle-class Maine families."

Steyer's NextGen Climate advocacy group recently singled out LePage, claiming that he "denies that climate change is a threat."

LePage is one of seven political hopefuls targeted by Steyer, the retired founder of hedge fund Farallon Capital Management. He has pledged to spend at least $50 million of his own money and millions of dollars more from others for the cause. Besides Maine, he plans to play in midterm elections in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania.

"The debate on climate change is settled: It is here, it is human-caused, and it is already having a devastating impact on our communities, but we need to accelerate the level of political support to address this critical issue before it's too late," Steyer said in a statement. "This means making politicians feel the heat—in their campaign coffers and at the polls."