By MEG KINNARD
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Illustrating the focus Tom Steyer’s presidential campaign is putting on South Carolina, the Democrat’s wife has stepped down from her banking job and relocated to the state for the rest of her husband’s 2020 bid.
Kat Taylor is renting a home in the state’s capital city and moved in over the weekend, the California billionaire’s campaign told The Associated Press on Tuesday. She looks to become more involved in campaigning efforts there and have a base of operations on the East Coast.
“I’ve always been in support of my husband, because of that I came to Columbia to show my full support,” Taylor said in a statement. She said it’s important to her to let people know that the couple stands for “providing clean air and clean water, access to affordable healthcare, job creation, affordable housing, and investing in the future of our youth.”
First on the agenda Tuesday afternoon was a meeting with college students at the home to discuss Steyer’s proposals to improve funding for historically black colleges and universities.
The state’s Feb. 29 primary is the first contest in the South on the 2020 election calendar and serves as an important gauge of black support. Black voters make up two-thirds of the Democratic electorate in South Carolina.
Steyer’s campaign said Taylor had stepped down from her role as CEO of Beneficial State Bank to take a more active role in her husband’s campaign, planning to stump across South Carolina and the Super Tuesday states, as well as to help with strategy.
“When Tom and I took our wedding vows, we made a commitment to leave everything on the table in a fight for a better world. Our money, our time, our energy, our access. Everything,” Taylor said.
Steyer was spending Tuesday in Nevada. He has banked much of his campaign on success there and in South Carolina, the first two states where nonwhite voters play important roles in presidential preference votes.
Steyer had South Carolina to himself Sunday and Monday as the rest of the Democratic field campaigned in New Hampshire ahead of that state’s Tuesday’s primary. In a last-minute schedule switch, former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign said he would be going to Columbia on Tuesday evening, along with his wife, Jill.
Steyer has been investing heavily in gaining ground among South Carolina’s black voters, who have been thought of as a “firewall” of support on which Biden’s campaign is relying.
Steyer has flooded South Carolina airwaves with millions of dollars in ads, building a robust staff and making numerous visits, holding more campaign events than any other candidate still in the race.
Meg Kinnard can be reached at https://twitter.com/MegKinnardAP
Catch up on the 2020 election campaign with AP experts on our weekly politics podcast, “Ground Game.”
Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.