Biggest billionaire super PAC donor? Not Sheldon Adelson

Tom Steyer speaks at 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.

Charley Gallay, Getty Images for Global Green

Tom Steyer, the Democrat-aligned hedge fund manager intent on making climate change a campaign issue, has set a new record as the biggest single donor to super PACs in one election cycle.

After funneling $15 million last month to his super PAC, called NextGen Climate Action Committee, Steyer has now given a grand total of $55 million to the group since June 2013, the New York Times reports. That surpasses the $49.8 million that conservative casino magnate Sheldon Adelson gave to super PACs in the 2012 election cycle. Sheldon Adelson's wife Miriam Adelson separately gave more than $42 million to outside groups in the 2012 cycle.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP), which culls data from the Federal Election Commission, NextGen Climate has so far spent more than $16 million this election cycle, almost all to attack Republicans. CRP reports that the group has spent the most so far, $5.9 million, on its effort to thwart Rep. Cory Gardner in his campaign to replace Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colorado. One of its latest ads attacks Gov. Rick Scott, R-Florida, for expressing skepticism about climate change.

A recent Gallup poll showed that climate change is a low priority for voters. In a Sept. 25-30 poll, registered voters were asked to rate the importance of 13 issues. Just 40 percent said climate change was extremely or very important, putting it dead last.