Election 2020 Tom Steyer

Billionaire investor and Democratic activist Tom Steyer speaks during a news conference Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, at the Statehouse in Des Moines, Iowa.

(CNN) -- Billionaire Tom Steyer officially entered the presidential race on Tuesday, saying he would seek the Democratic nomination for president despite having previously ruled out a run in January.

In a video released Tuesday morning, Steyer said, "if you think that there's something absolutely critical, try as hard as you can and let the chips fall where they may. And that's exactly what I'm doing. My name's Tom Steyer, and I'm running for president."

Steyer, who has teased political bids before without ever launching a campaign, never fully ruled out a 2020 run despite his January announcement, a source familiar with the situation previously told CNN.

Steyer has operated as a funding force in Democratic politics in recent years, bankrolling candidates and organizations that promote liberal causes, including the impeachment of President Donald Trump. Steyer's net worth reached $1.6 billion this year according to Forbes, a fortune he began amassing in 1986 when he launched his hedge fund Farallon Capital.

The 2018 House races marked the third consecutive election cycle in which Steyer spent more than $100 million dollars supporting Democratic candidates. But it's Steyer's efforts to impeach Trump which have made him the most visible, starring in self-funded television commercials in which he calls on Congress to remove the President from office.

Steyer joins a crowded Democratic primary that has already participated in the first round of primary debates.

A CNN poll last month showed former Vice President Joe Biden leading the race with 22% support followed by California Sen. Kamala Harris and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who made steep gains following their debate performances.

CNN's Paul LeBlanc and Dan Merica contributed to this report.

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