Tech entrepreneur Andrew Yang ended his bid for the presidency on Tuesday after the polls closed in the New Hampshire primary.
“We have touched and improved millions of lives and moved this country we love so much in the right direction,” he told his supporters. “And while there is great work left to be done, you know, I am the math guy, and it is clear tonight from the numbers that we are not going to win this race.
“I am not someone who wants to accept donations and support in a race that we will not win. And so tonight I am announcing I am suspending my campaign for president.”
Although he qualified for the Feb. 7 Democratic debate in Manchester, N.H., Yang, who also did poorly in the Iowa caucuses, was never considered a front-runner. Saying it was “both an honor and a disappointment” to be the only candidate of color on the stage, he pointed out the lack of diversity in the remaining Democratic field.
With the departure of Yang, 45, the son of Taiwanese immigrants, the only Asian Pacific American candidate left is Rep. Tulsi Gabbard from Hawaii.
The New Hampshire results narrowed the field further by prompting Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet and former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, the only remaining African American candidate, to withdraw. Yang, Patrick and Bennet finished eighth, ninth and 10th, respectively.
Though he has never held public office, Yang jumped into the race in late 2017, raised millions in donations and attracted a loyal following known as the “Yang Gang.” He was perhaps best known for his proposed universal basic income or “Freedom Dividend,” which would pay every American 18 or older $1,000 a month.
He identified automation and artificial intelligence as major challenges for American workers, and condemned companies like Amazon for taking in billions in profits while closing retail stores and paying no taxes.
“We went from a mailing list that started with just my gmail contact list to receiving donations from over 400,000 people around the country and millions more who have supported this campaign,” Yang said. “One of the things I’m most proud of: We gave $1,000 a month to 13 families around the country.”
Yang and his supporters charged that the media, including CNN and MSNBC, often failed to recognize him as a legitimate candidate, leaving him out of election-related graphics and limiting his speaking time during debates.
“I’ve already outlasted a dozen governors, former governors and members of Congress,” he pointed out, adding that “the Yang Gang has fundamentally shifted the direction of this country and transformed our politics, and we are only continuing to grow.”
He was fond of saying, “The opposite of Donald Trump is an Asian man who likes math,” and adopted MATH (Make America Think Harder) as his slogan.
His wife, Evelyn, also made headlines by publicly discussing being sexually assaulted by her gynecologist while she was pregnant and urging women who have been similarly abused to come forward.
Far from withdrawing from politics, Yang has said he is considering a run for mayor of New York City and did not rule out accepting a position in a Democratic administration.
In an interview with CNN, Yang said he isn’t yet publicly endorsing a candidate but will support whoever the Democratic nominee is.
“This movement is future of American politics. This movement is the future of the Democratic party,” Yang told his supporters. “Together we will continue to do the work and move this country forward because the Yang Gang isn’t going anywhere.”
Via Twitter, the top Democratic contenders commented on Yang’s departure.
Bernie Sanders: “Thank you, Andrew Yang, for running an issue-focused campaign and working to bring new voters into the political process. I look forward to working together to defeat the corruption and bigotry of Donald Trump.”
Pete Buttigieg: “Andrew Yang started out unknown, but went on to make a big impact with his campaign built on preparing for America’s future. Andrew, we’ll miss you and the Yang Gang on the trail, but I can’t wait to work together to help prepare America for the challenges ahead.”
Amy Klobuchar: “Andrew, I will miss you on the campaign trail. You’ve inspired so many new people to join politics. By thinking outside of the box, you will have a lasting mark in bringing new voters to the ballot box in 2020. And I’ve enjoyed hanging out with the Yang Gang.”
Elizabeth Warren: “Thank you, Andrew Yang. I look forward to fighting alongside you to build an economy that works for working people.”
“Though he was not my first choice — Go Bernie! — I have appreciated and admired Andrew Yang as a candidate, family man, and forward-thinking problem-solver,” said former California Assemblymember Mariko Yamada. “I hope this is not the last that we see of him.”