Once a front runner in the race and known for his high-energy campaign, Yang’s position in opinion polls had slipped in recent weeks
Tech entrepreneur and former presidential candidate Andrew Yang conceded in the Democratic primary for New York City mayor Tuesday night, telling supporters that his bid for City Hall had become too much of long-shot to continue his campaign.
“As you know, I am a numbers guy. I am someone who traffics in what’s happening by the numbers and I am not going to be the next mayor of New York City based on the numbers that have come in tonight. I am conceding this race,” Yang told supporters who had gathered at the rooftop bar at Yotel hotel in Hell’s Kitchen.
Once a front runner in the race and known for his high-energy campaign, Yang’s position in opinion polls had slipped in recent weeks, and he was criticized for remarks he made during the last televised debate about homelessness and mental health that many viewed as insensitive.
Despite the fact that a winner in the Democratic mayoral primary likely won’t be determined for another few weeks—ranked choice voting, absentee ballots and other factors are expected to mean a substantially slower results process this year—unofficial and preliminary Board of Election numbers Tuesday night showed Yang ranking fourth behind Eric Adams, Maya Wiley and Kathryn Garcia.
The chilly breeze atop the Midtown hotel, just around the corner from the Port Authority bus depot, left some supporters shivering as they clutched Truly hard seltzers and craft beers following Yang’s speech. Volunteers from across the country, evidence of Yang’s loyal following, planned trips back to their hotels or friend’s couches just before midnight.
Prince Wang, 19, traveled from Northern Virginia to a friend’s house in Cornwall, NY, three weeks ago so he could take the four-hour roundtrip train ride into Manhattan each day to campaign for Yang.
“I’ve never believed in anyone nearly as much as I’ve believed in Yang. I think his ideas to revolutionize our society has already begun to revolutionize even our mainstream politics,” said Wang, president of his class at Virginia Tech. “He talks about issues other people just don’t even talk about.” One of those issues? Expanding nuclear energy, Wang said.
He was the second out-of-state volunteer interviewed by City Limits who said they were first drawn to Yang because of his stance on nuclear power before learning more about his policies and character.
University of Wisconsin nuclear engineering grad student Ian Prado said he made $100,000 selling BitCoin and used a portion of the cash to fund his visit to New York City for the homestretch of the campaign.
“I’m definitely disappointed that the voters of New York City felt he didn’t represent them,” said Prado, 27. “I hope he continues to run for big positions.”
After Yang left the podium, event attendees milled around the astroturf rooftop, drinking wine with fellow campaign contributors or waiting in a circle to pose for photos with their candidate. Other supporters stood apart, disappointed by the outcome and unfamiliar with the low-level elected officials and campaign strategists who all seemed to know one another.
Buffalo digital marketing professional Dan Weber traveled to Manhattan on Sunday to pitch in on the campaign after volunteering in three states during the presidential primaries.
Weber, 34, said he experienced poverty while growing up with a single mother and gravitated toward Yang after learning more about his proposal for a universal basic income, a policy that would lift people out of poverty outside the existing welfare system and its strict income caps.
New Yorkers, especially progressive activists, were too quick to write Yang off, Weber said.
“The political immune system viewed him like a virus and tried to attack him,” he said. “I, as a supporter, view him as a medicine. A vaccine.”
The candidate, who was joined on stage by his wife Evelyn Yang and New York State Sen. John Liu, pledged to remain involved in helping to improve New York City but “as parents, as citizens,” rather than mayor.
“This has been an incredible journey, but I know that the journey is still just beginning, that Evelyn and I will find a way to serve, a way to contribute to public life here in New York City and beyond.”
When asked what they’ll do tomorrow now that their campaign has wrapped, Evelyn Yang, gave a simple answer.
“Sleep. And be with our kids,” she said.