Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer makes campaign stop in Richmond

RICHMOND, Calif. (KGO) -- He's from California, but presidential candidate Tom Steyer hasn't been here for weeks until Thursday.

Steyer stopped in Richmond for a roundtable in Richmond. He was last here in December to open a Bay Area campaign office and since then, his status in the race has changed dramatically.

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"I'm here partially to change my clothes," Steyer joked as he stood with a group of reporters in Richmond, where he presided over a roundtable on criminal justice reform.

Steyer's public profile and legitimacy as a presidential candidate has risen dramatically in recent weeks.

Last week he appeared as one of only six Democrats in a CNN debate, and Wednesday he engaged in a mini-Twitter feud with President Donald Trump, who called the former hedge-fund manager a "major loser."

To which Steyer replied "Donald, you're just jealous nobody wants to say hi to you. Impeachment is forever. Bye."

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"Mr. Trump doesn't know me. He is a guy whose very snarky. I find him amusing," said Steyer.

Steyer's rising poll numbers are due at least in part to his own deep pockets, having now spent more than $130 million dollars on television, radio and internet advertising.

Trump aside, he's managed to stay away from the fray that's swirling around the top candidates.

"I don't think this is the time for Democrats to be talking about the personal issues, the wine caves, the old conversations, the ancient videos," said Steyer, "but I think we all have to remember we need to beat Mr. Trump."

Steyer told us he's not focused one large election, but the many smaller ones that come before it.

"This is actually not a national vote. This is a series of state votes," said Steyer.

February 3rd's Iowa Caucus is the first of those state votes and the latest polling from the Des Moines Register shows Steyer still well behind the top four candidates.

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