Birth Name: Thomas Fahr Steyer
Place of Birth: Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.
Date of Birth: June 27, 1957
*Ashkenazi Jewish (father)
*German, English, Scottish (mother)
Tom Steyer is an American billionaire hedge fund manager, philanthropist, environmentalist, activist, and fundraiser.
He was a candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination for President of the United States in 2020.
Tom is the son of Marnie (Fahr), a teacher, and Roy Henry Steyer, an attorney. His father was a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials. His brother is Jim Steyer, an author, professor, attorney, and children’s advocate. He is married to Kat Taylor, with whom he has four children.
His father was Jewish and his mother was Episcopalian. Tom married his wife in a ceremony officiated by both a Rabbi and a Presbyterian minister. He became involved in the Episcopal church in his late 30s.
Tom’s paternal grandfather was named Herman Steyer (the son of Fannie). Herman was an Austrian Jewish emigrant, from Galicia.
Tom’s paternal grandmother was Augusta “Gussie” Simon (the daughter of Rafael/Raphael Simon and Hanna/Hannah R. Kugel). Augusta was a Russian Jewish immigrant, from Minsk.
Tom’s maternal grandfather was George Edmeston Fahr (the son of Charles M. Fahr and Margaret/Maggie R./A. Edmeston/Edmuton). George was born in Pennsylvania. Charles was German. Margaret was the daughter of David R. Edmeston, who was Scottish, and of Margaret J. Peak.
Tom’s maternal grandmother was Alice Hume Pearson (the daughter of George Pearson and Helen/Hellen Hester Hume). Alice was born in Pennsylvania. George was the son of Johnson Pearson and Sarah Jane Templeton. Helen was born in Maine, the daughter of Bedford Hume, who was Canadian, and of Mary Charlotte “Lottie” Kidder.
Two people of Jewish heritage have been nominated for President of the United States by a major party. Barry Goldwater, nominated by the Republican Party in 1964, was the first (Goldwater was born to a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother, and was raised an Episcopalian). John Kerry, nominated by the Democratic Party in 2004, was the second (Kerry’s paternal grandparents were born Jewish, though Kerry’s father and Kerry himself were raised Catholic).
Joe Lieberman, who is Jewish, was nominated for Vice President of the United States by the Democratic Party in 2000.
Five people of Jewish heritage have won a major party’s Presidential caucus and/or primary:
*Barry Goldwater (1964, the year he was nominated; Republican; won 7 states; Goldwater also sought the 1960 Republican nomination)
*John Kerry (2004, the year he was nominated; Democratic; won 51 contests)
*Wesley Clark (who sought the 2004 Democratic nomination; won 1 state, Oklahoma; Clark was born to a Jewish father and a non-Jewish mother, and is a practicing Catholic)
*Bernie Sanders (who sought the 2016 Democratic nomination, and is seeking the 2020 Democratic nomination; in 2016, he won 23 contests; in 2020, he has, thus far, won 9 contests)
*Michael Bloomberg (who sought the 2020 Democratic nomination; won 1 territory, American Samoa)
Of the five, Bernie Sanders and Michael Bloomberg are Jewish by religion, and Sanders is the first person of Jewish religion to have won a caucus and/or primary for a major American political party’s Presidential nomination (the 2016 New Hampshire primary).
Other people of significant Jewish heritage who have mounted plausible or semi-plausible campaigns for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States are:
*Milton Shapp (who sought the 1976 Democratic nomination)
*Larry Agran (who sought the 1992 Democratic nomination)
*Arlen Specter (who sought the 1996 Republican nomination)
*Joe Lieberman (who sought the 2004 Democratic nomination)
*John H. Cox (who sought the 2008 Republican nomination)
*Fred Karger (who sought the 2012 Republican nomination)
*Marianne Williamson (who sought the 2020 Democratic nomination)
*Michael Bennet (who sought the 2020 Democratic nomination)
Shapp, Agran, Specter, Lieberman, Karger, and Williamson were/are all Jewish by religion. Bennet was raised in a mixed-faith household, with a Jewish mother. Shapp was the first person of Jewish religion to mount a prominent campaign for a major party’s nomination for President of the United States.
Kirsten Gillibrand, a Catholic with a Jewish great-grandfather, also sought the 2020 Democratic nomination.
Sources: Genealogy of Tom Steyer (focusing on his father’s side) – https://www.geni.com
Tom’s maternal grandfather, George Edmeston Fahr, on the 1900 U.S. Census – https://www.familysearch.org
Tom’s maternal grandmother, Alice Hume Pearson, on the 1910 U.S. Census – https://www.familysearch.org