(Reuters) - Billionaire donor and liberal activist Tom Steyer, who has led an effort to impeach President Donald Trump, announced on Wednesday he will not seek the Democratic presidential nomination and instead will continue his effort to oust the president.
Steyer, 61, made his announcement in Iowa, the traditional starting point for the presidential nominating contests that will kick off early next year, after months of openly exploring his own presidential campaign, his staff confirmed.
"The impeachment question has reached an inflection point," Steyer wrote on Twitter. "That's why I just announced that I will be dedicating 100% of my time and effort in 2019 towards Mr. Trump's impeachment and removal from office."
Steyer's decision not to enter the race also leaves the deep-pocketed donor available to support one of as many as two dozen Democrats who are weighing 2020 presidential bids.
Steyer plans to spend $40 million this year to pressure the U.S. House of Representatives, which Democrats won control of in the November 2018 elections, to begin impeachment proceedings, and to encourage Democrats vying for the White House to support Trump's impeachment.
American environmentalist Tom Steyer
American environmentalist Tom Steyer
Tom Steyer, founder of Farallon Capital Management LLC and president of NextGen Climate Action Committee, stands for a photograph after a Bloomberg Television interview in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. Steyer, the billionaire environmental activist who spent at least $87 million on the 2016 election, said he can't begin to estimate how much of his fortune he'll put toward fighting Donald Trump's presidency. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
American environmentalist Tom Steyer speaks at the Netroots Nation annual conference for political progressives in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. August 12, 2017. REUTERS/Christopher Aluka Berry
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 27: Jackie Dupont-Walker and Tom Steyer speak during Climate Day LA at The Theatre at Ace Hotel on June 27, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Timothy Norris/WireImage)
Investor, philanthropist and environmentalist Tom Steyer speaks at the Center for American Progress' 2014 Making Progress Policy Conference in Washington, DC, U.S. on November 19, 2014. Billionaire environmental activist Tom Steyer is expanding his political agenda beyond climate change to embrace issues ranging from immigration to income inequality, which he expects will be critical to mustering votes for Democrat Hillary Clinton in the November presidential election. REUTERS/Gary Cameron/File Photo
SACRAMENTO, CA - AUGUST 21: Tom Steyer speaks during the Imagine Justice concert at Capitol Mall on August 21, 2017 in Sacramento, California. (Photo by Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - JUNE 08: Sen. Kevin de Leon (L) and Tom Steyer attend Global Green USA's Millennium Awards at Fairmont Miramar Hotel on June 8, 2013 in Santa Monica, California benefiting the places, the people and the planet in need. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for Global Green)
Thomas 'Tom' Steyer, founder of Farallon Capital Management LLC, speaks during a Bloomberg Television interview in Pescadero, California, U.S., on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013. Keystone XL will be a 'major driver' of oil sands expansion that significantly raises the risks of climate change, said Steyer, a former hedge fund manager who has spent some of his fortune fighting the pipeline. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, left, listens as Tom Steyer of 'No on 23' speaks as a press conference was held at Vista Hermosa Park in Los Angeles calling for a No vote on Proposition 23 on August 31, 2010. Texas oil companies Tesoro and Valero are backing the Proposition which is a dirty energy proposition. (Photo by Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - SEPTEMBER 05: Co-Founder of Advanced Energy Economy Tom Steyer speaks during day two of the Democratic National Convention at Time Warner Cable Arena on September 5, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The DNC that will run through September 7, will nominate U.S. President Barack Obama as the Democratic presidential candidate. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, CA - JUNE 08: Co-Founder of Sungevity Danny Kennedy, democratic member of the California State Senate Kevin de Leon and philanthropist Tom Steyer arrive at Global Green USA's Annual Millennium Awards at Fairmont Miramar Hotel on June 8, 2013 in Santa Monica, California. (Photo by Angela Weiss/Getty Images)
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Steyer has been a force in Democratic fundraising over the past decade. NextGen America, a political nonprofit he formed in 2013, has poured millions into elections, focusing on climate change, immigration and access to affordable healthcare, among other issues.
Steyer said he spent $120 million on the 2018 elections, investing heavily in youth turnout, which he called an untapped source of Democratic support. He also spent more than $90 million during the 2016 elections, when he backed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.
Some of his money has gone to his Need to Impeach campaign against Trump. Steyer has accused the Republican president of colluding with Russia to win the White House in 2016 and obstructing investigations into their efforts, allegations that Trump has denied.
"I will do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to remove this president," Steyer wrote Wednesday on Twitter.
In a tweet in October, Trump dismissed Steyer as a "crazed & stumbling lunatic who should be running out of money pretty soon."
Steyer amassed a fortune estimated by Forbes at $1.6 billion by founding the investment firm Farallon Capital in the mid-1980s and serving as a partner at the San Francisco private equity firm Hellman & Friedman.
Early opinion polls showed the environmentalist and philanthropist, who is based in San Francisco, trailing other Democrats in name recognition and support. (Reporting by Amanda Becker Editing by Colleen Jenkins and Jonathan Oatis)