Not to be confused with the similarly named super PAC NextGen Climate Action Committee
NextGen Climate Action is the 501(c)(4) organization and Super PAC of NextGen Climate America, an organization dedicated to protecting the environment based in San Francisco. Together they support environmentalist candidates, organize attack campaigns, and mobilize environmentalist-minded voters to take action by calling Congressmen and organizing and supporting protests.
The group was founded in 2013 by billionaire Tom Steyer, who retired in 2012 after making his fortune as the founder of Farallon Capital, L.C.C., a San Francisco based investment firm managing the capital of universities, endowments, and high-net-worth individuals.
Steyer joined the board of the now defunct Center for the Next Generation in 2011. The group was co-founded by his brother, Jim Steyer, and supported environmental and children’s issues through nonpartisan research, policy development, and strategic communications. In 2013, Steyer created NextGen Climate as a more political spinoff of the original organization.
While Steyer has been critical of Democrats less supportive of environmentalist policies to combat carbon emissions, he and NextGen Climate aim almost all of their work against Republicans.
Election Cycle Activity
In 2013, NextGen Climate Action began its work by spending $8 million on TV and digital ads to support then-Virginia gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe (D) and more than $1 million to elect Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey to the Senate.
During the 2014 election cycle, the group spent $74,032,090 (nearly $67 million of which was funded by the Steyers alone). The group’s efforts focused on six races—the Senate contests in Iowa, New Hampshire, Michigan and Colorado, and the governor’s races in Maine and Florida. Led by Chief Strategist Chris Lehan, the group’s goal was to “be on the offensive as much as possible” to force Republicans and conservatives to react. Creative measures included rolling fake barrels of oil into New Hampshire to criticize then-Republican Senate candidate Scott Brown and towing an ark around Florida to criticize Gov. Rick Scott (R).
During the 2016 election cycle, NextGen Climate Action spent $96,036,921. During that cycle, the group made seven endorsements of Democratic candidates, among them Hillary Clinton for President; Tammy Duckworth for U.S. Senate in Illinois, Catherine Cortez Masto for U.S. Senate in Nevada, Maggie Hassan for U.S. Senate in New Hampshire, Deborah Ross for U.S. Senate in North Carolina, Ted Strickland for U.S. Senate in Ohio, Katie McGinty for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania, and Roy Cooper for the Governor of North Carolina.
In addition to supporting candidates and campaigning against Republicans, NextGen Climate Action also spent more than $25 million in polling, advertising, and canvassing to encouraging millennials to vote. According to NextGen Climate PA state director Pat Millham, the group choose to make that investment because “Polling has consistently shown that millennials are more likely to support a candidate who will make addressing climate change a top priority, and NextGen Climate PA is proud to play a role in ensuring young people’s voices are heard at the ballot box in November.”
2018 Voter Mobilization Strategy
Also see NextGen Rising (Nonprofit)
On August 9, 2018, representatives from NextGen Rising and NextGen Climate Action held a brief phone call to discuss strategy and goals ahead of the 2018 midterm elections. Jeremiah Chapman, Erin Carhart, Ben Wessel, and Tom Steyer were present and spoke on the call.
The representatives revealed that NextGen Rising’s targets for the election include 33 House of Representatives races, 7 U.S. Senate races, and 8 gubernatorial races. Its voter mobilization goal was to register 100,000 voters by the election (75,000 by November 6, 2018), particularly college students and new voters under 35 years of age. To accomplish this, NextGen sought 15,000 volunteers nationwide.