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CNN town hall with Tom Steyer

Ahead of the midterms last year, billionaire businessman Tom Steyer hit the road to headline dozens of town hall meetings, introducing himself to voters and working to become the face of the impeach President Trump movement.

Now, Steyer's aides say he has committed spending at least $100 million on his presidential bid in the hopes of toppling another billionaire, Trump, who defied political conventions to win the White House in 2016.

Steyer, a 62-year-old with still-sandy blond hair and a penchant for argyle ties, has operated as a funding force in Democratic politics in recent years, bankrolling candidates and organizations that promote liberal causes, including the impeachment of Trump. Steyer's net worth reached $1.6 billion this year according to Forbes, a fortune he began amassing in 1986 when he launched his hedge fund Farallon Capital.

The 2018 House races, which Steyer spent over $100 million on, marked the third consecutive election cycle in which Steyer spent millions supporting Democratic candidates. But it's Steyer's efforts to impeach Trump which have made him the most visible, starring in self-funded television commercials in which he calls on Congress to remove the President from office.

Mark Makela/Getty Images
Mark Makela/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer's economic agenda is aimed at "ensuring that economic power rests with the American people, not big corporations."

To address what Steyer calls the "undue influence" of corporate power on the US economy, his plan calls for a $15 minimum wage along with congressional term limits and the repeal of Citizens United.

Steyer said he would "invest in people" with larger allocations to health care and public schools as well as the introduction of five new constitutional rights which include "the right to healthcare, clean air and water, a livable wage, an equal vote, and a quality education."

He said he would also repeal the Trump tax cuts and install a 1% wealth tax on those whose net worth is above $32 million.

"(The federal tax system) will not continue to provide favorable treatment to the rich and powerful at the expense of low-income and middle-class Americans, nor will it starve the government of the resources needed to deliver services," he said.

The agenda also outlines plans to "transition the United States to a green economy" and "negotiate trade agreements with vital economic partners."

Mark Makela/Getty Images
Mark Makela/Getty Images

Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer, a billionaire businessman, will take questions from voters at CNN's town hall in Iowa tonight.

CNN's Brianna Keilar will be moderating the event at Grinnell College.

A new poll from The New York Times and Siena College shows a close race in Iowa with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 22% support, followed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders with 19%, South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg at 18% and former Vice President Joe Biden rounding out the top tier with 17%. The same poll showed Steyer garnered 2% of support.

Before officially launching his campaign in July, Steyer has mainly operated as a funding force in Democratic politics in recent years, bankrolling candidates and organizations that promote liberal causes, including the impeachment of President Trump.

About the town halls: So far, CNN has held 22 separate, hour-long town halls with Democratic presidential candidates this year. In addition, CNN has held individual candidate town halls on specific issues such as climate change, LGBTQ matters and young voters.

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