When Andrew Yang, the peppy UBI evangelist, dropped out of the presidential race last Tuesday, he immediately stoked speculation he was ready to seek another prestigious office: mayor of New York City.
Though the Manhattan tech entrepreneur and Columbia-educated lawyer came nowhere close to running competitively in either Iowa or New Hampshire — he garnered 1 and 2.8 percent of the vote, respectively — he outlasted Establishment favorites like Kamala Harris, qualified for most major television debates, and raised north of $30 million, all the while building a young, die-hard internet following known as the “Yang Gang.”
With a few stray remarks, Yang set New York’s insular political world aflutter. Is he serious? Will he do it? Can he win? Those close to Yang continue to fan the flames.
“Andrew isn’t taking anything off the table,” one Yang insider told Intelligencer. “The campaign-finance rules could be very advantageous to somebody like Andrew who understands the power of digital organizing and who could also talk to so many different constituencies in the city.”
Neal Kwatra, a prominent Democratic consultant unaffiliated with Yang, thinks he could have a real shot. “Anyone who underestimates his potential impact doesn’t understand the political moment we are in,” he said. Kwatra doesn’t think Yang will ultimately run, but believes New Yorkers would be “enamored with a fresh face” if he decides to take the plunge.
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