“Honestly, I’m not against Steyer’s message, but it’s an enviable position,” said Ms. Condon, who recently endorsed Pete Buttigieg, a former mayor of South Bend, Ind. “Certainly Steyer’s campaign has what most candidates wish for — unlimited money.”
Mr. Quirk-Garvan has raised questions about whether Mr. Steyer has used financial inducements to grow the list of state officials endorsing him.
James H. Hodges, a former governor who is now president of McGuireWoods Consulting, said the practice is not new.
“He’s not the first candidate nor will he be the last that puts people on the payroll,’’ Mr. Hodges said. “It’s an art form in Iowa and New Hampshire, so he’s not unique in that regard. But I think what’s drawn attention is just the amount.”
One addition to Mr. Steyer’s list of endorsers this week was Representative Michael Rivers of Beaufort County, who had previously supported Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, but decided to switch his allegiance five days before the primary.
Mr. Rivers, an ordained minister, introduced Mr. Steyer at an event in Hilton Head, where a mostly white group of about 200 retirees were treated to breakfast. “One thing we know, he’s not cheap,” Mr. Rivers quipped in making the introduction, prompting a tweeted response from Mr. Quirk-Garvan, who raised questions about Mr. Rivers’ sudden change of heart.
Mr. Rivers did not respond to messages seeking comment.
Mr. Rivers was the latest addition to Mr. Steyer’s camp, making him one of 13 current and former state legislators who have endorsed Mr. Steyer. Several of them have been named paid campaign advisers, including Representative Jerry N. Govan of Orangeburg County, the head of the state legislature’s Black Caucus.