Politics & Government

Megadonor Tom Steyer eyes Washington legislative races

A political committee tied to California climate activist Tom Steyer has filed paperwork to spend money on Washington state campaigns.

According to Steyer’s national organization, NextGen Climate, it will likely target three to four races here.

The group has its eye on the Washington state Senate, where Democrats are two seats short of a majority. Without Senate control, Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee is unlikely to have much success next year pushing for a cap-and-trade system and other actions to curb carbon emissions.

Steyer, who made billions through his hedge fund before divesting himself from investments in fossil fuels, has been spending money on campaigns across the country he believes can make a difference in addressing climate change.

The group didn’t name the races it’s looking at, but the seats that could help swing the Senate this fall include the ones being defended by Republican Sens. Steve O’Ban of Tacoma, Andy Hill of Redmond and Doug Ericksen of Ferndale against Democratic challengers Rep. Tami Green, Matt Isenhower and Seth Fleetwood, respectively. A Federal Way-area open seat is also up for grabs and pits Republican Mark Miloscia against Democrat Shari Song.

Primary results that start rolling in Tuesday could show just how competitive those contests really are.