Andrew Yang ends 2020 presidential campaign

In an interview with CNN's Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto, Andrew Yang said he isn't yet publicly endorsing a candidate but that he will support "whoever the Democratic nominee is."

Posted: Feb 12, 2020 4:10 PM
Updated: Feb 12, 2020 4:10 PM

Andrew Yang suspended his political campaign on Tuesday in New Hampshire, ending the upstart run that vaulted the businessman from complete obscurity to a Democratic contender backed by a devoted following known as the Yang Gang.

"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," Yang told supporters in Manchester.

He continued: "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."

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Yang said he did not make the decision lightly, and that he had every intention of staying in the race until the very end. But, he said, he was "persuaded that the message of this campaign will not be strengthened by my staying in this race any longer."

The entrepreneur said his campaign had "outlasted over a dozen senators, governors and members of Congress to become the most exciting force in this entire race."

"The Yang Gang has fundamentally shifted the direction of this country and transformed our politics, and we are only continuing to grow," Yang continued.

Yang's decision comes a week after a disappointing finish in Iowa, where the campaign invested millions and spent two weeks on a bus tour leading up to the caucuses. The investment didn't pan out: Yang finished with just 1% support in Iowa and, after leaving the state with depleted resources, had to lay off staff as he looked to trim his campaign's costs.

"With a crystal ball, we might not have invested as much energy in Iowa, because I think that that lack of clarity afterwards hurt every candidate," Yang told CNN the day before the New Hampshire primary. "But we're excited about being here in New Hampshire."

But Yang lacked the kind of infrastructure in New Hampshire that he had in Iowa, leading aides to expect another less than stellar finish.

Even days before the primary, top Yang aides were candid about the future of the campaign.

"If we don't show as well in New Hampshire, there will be some reassessment," said a Yang aide, "especially if it ends up being the worst-case scenario."

Yang launched his campaign in 2017 to little fanfare. Even his family, Yang told CNN, asked "president of what" when he told them he had decided to run for the top job. But the businessman, by championing unique policy positions like a universal basic income, wide reaching programs to address automation and the legalization of marijuana, slowly created a devout following of liberal Democrats, libertarians and some disaffected Republicans.

While Yang overperformed what many experts believed he would accomplish in the Democratic primary, his following was unable to propel him beyond Iowa and New Hampshire, defeats that largely thwarted the candidate's rise.

Yang leaves the race, however, with a level of power in Democratic politics that no one would have expected when he entered the contest. Members of the eponymous Yang Gang -- colorfully known as Yangsters -- are devoted to the businessman, meaning Yang's next moves in the primary will be closely watched. And scores of top Democratic operatives, after watching Yang's rise, have said in private that the businessman should have a future role in Democratic politics or a Democratic administration.

In an interview Wednesday with CNN's Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto on "Newsroom," Yang said he isn't yet publicly endorsing a candidate but that he will support "whoever the Democratic nominee is." The businessman also said he would be "honored" to be selected as a candidate's running mate.

"I'm already on the record, too, saying if I can solve these problems as someone's vice president, a member of an administration -- we just need to start solving these problems for the next generation," Yang said. "And I'm happy to do my part."

Yang's campaign was defined by the candidate's happy go-lucky style -- videos of him singing in a church choir, dancing to the "Cupid Shuffle" and crowd surfing at an events regularly went viral, helping burnish his image as a candidate just happy to be with his fans.

He also often used high profile moment to compliment his opponents. When former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke dropped out and before a Democratic debate where they would have been standing next to each other, Yang simply tweeted, "I miss Beto." After Cory Booker failed to qualify for a debate stage, Yang used yet another debate stage moment to tell voter he thinks, "Cory will be back," a move that was appreciated by Booker and his top campaign aides.

Those moments paid off to Yang, too. The candidate and his team of New York-based operatives -- many of whom had little political experience -- turned those viral moments into a series of impressive fundraising hauls. The candidate raised $2.8 million in the second quarter of 2019, $10 million in the third quarter and $16.5 million in the fourth quarter, a series of impressive hauls that landed him among a number of Democratic heavyweights.

Like other candidates, though, much of that money flowed to Iowa, where Yang spent more than two weeks on a bus tour throughout the state ahead of the caucuses.

That effort made clear that Iowa was critical to Yang. His top aides felt like the candidate -- because he came from nowhere -- needed to prove he could overperform expectations in Iowa or New Hampshire to justify continuing the campaign.

That is why Yang spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on ads in the closing weeks of the campaign, hoping that success in Iowa -- which some defined as a top-five finish -- would give him credibility in future contests.

That credibility failed to materialize in the first two contests.

Yang -- the son of immigrants from Taiwan who was born in Schenectady, New York, in 1975 -- had no political experience before running for president. He told CNN in October that he lost all three times he ran for student government positions.

But Yang, after a brief stint at a law firm in the early 2000s, became the CEO of a test prep company and then started Venture for America, a non-profit that connects recent college graduates with start-ups. It was that experience that raised Yang's profile in Washington; in 2015, President Barack Obama named Yang an ambassador for global entrepreneurship.

Yang, like many insurgent candidates before him, leaned on non-traditional media to get attention. He became a staple on non-political podcasts, including an almost two-hour long podcast with controversial stand-up comedian and TV personality Joe Rogan, where his campaign says he first gained a national following.

It was clear by the end of Yang's campaign that his rapid rise -- and the sacrifices his family had made to allow him to run for president -- had weighed on the candidate.

Yang choked up days before the Iowa caucuses when he reflected on how far his campaign had come.

"I love Iowa," he said. "Campaigning here for the last two years has been the journey of my life. I am really glad you are going to determine the future of our country."

The comment caused Yang to visibly get emotional and cover his face.

"I was just reflecting on how far the campaign has come," Yang said the day after in Iowa. "The people have been very good to me and my family."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 318894

Reported Deaths: 5561
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion43391855
Lake27599462
Allen18363299
Elkhart17474226
St. Joseph17071234
Hamilton13376169
Vanderburgh9839121
Tippecanoe880629
Porter844886
Johnson6556169
Hendricks6267158
Vigo618187
Monroe542850
Clark522877
Madison5153122
Delaware5014103
LaPorte474695
Kosciusko468540
Howard357977
Warrick329872
Floyd324978
Bartholomew323563
Wayne318074
Marshall308146
Cass302631
Grant282050
Noble261546
Hancock260355
Henry252837
Boone248754
Dubois242931
Dearborn222631
Jackson222534
Morgan215543
Knox189720
Shelby189556
Gibson189426
Clinton182121
DeKalb181632
Lawrence179748
Adams171022
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Miami166614
Daviess160144
Steuben150713
Fayette150034
Jasper147413
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Whitley140814
Ripley138515
Huntington130910
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Wells127930
Putnam127828
White127522
Clay126523
Randolph126121
Posey124116
Jefferson122916
Scott112320
Greene104653
Jay100713
Sullivan99216
Starke94021
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Fulton86419
Spencer8588
Perry83721
Fountain8078
Washington7837
Franklin71327
Carroll69613
Orange69028
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Owen6317
Tipton58927
Parke5886
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Rush5658
Blackford54012
Pike51619
Pulaski41115
Martin3645
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Brown3514
Crawford3031
Union2752
Switzerland2605
Warren2542
Ohio2337
Unassigned0266

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 382743

Reported Deaths: 6274
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin51161671
Cuyahoga37222743
Hamilton30493372
Montgomery20518236
Butler15199148
Lucas14566417
Summit13933327
Stark9193206
Warren841976
Mahoning7530300
Lake710067
Lorain6690106
Clermont593651
Delaware572537
Licking564577
Trumbull5584147
Fairfield554464
Greene538066
Clark5218101
Allen494989
Marion476759
Medina471657
Wood4598107
Miami437568
Pickaway404048
Portage358972
Columbiana357698
Tuscarawas342667
Richland328539
Wayne327394
Mercer296047
Muskingum252510
Hancock245940
Ross244559
Auglaize236435
Darke232560
Erie230268
Putnam229449
Ashtabula228354
Geauga211851
Scioto200616
Union19668
Shelby194017
Lawrence193039
Athens19134
Seneca182919
Belmont170229
Madison163119
Sandusky157729
Preble156521
Huron155519
Defiance144823
Holmes140439
Logan133517
Knox131718
Fulton128726
Jefferson128613
Crawford126817
Washington125227
Ottawa124530
Clinton109115
Williams10799
Ashland107825
Highland103718
Brown10135
Henry101323
Hardin99719
Champaign9825
Van Wert97318
Jackson96212
Fayette92717
Morrow9202
Guernsey89314
Coshocton85215
Perry82912
Adams80313
Pike7661
Gallia76513
Wyandot73217
Paulding66511
Hocking64516
Noble62224
Carroll48810
Meigs39612
Monroe32321
Morgan2685
Vinton2246
Harrison2193
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