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: 725353

Reported Deaths: 13373
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion990831737
Lake53265963
Allen40302675
Hamilton35392408
St. Joseph35350550
Elkhart28304438
Tippecanoe22315217
Vanderburgh22252396
Porter18596306
Johnson17856376
Hendricks17121313
Clark12908191
Madison12549339
Vigo12400244
Monroe11827168
LaPorte11736210
Delaware10595185
Howard9837215
Kosciusko9358117
Hancock8225140
Bartholomew8038155
Warrick7761155
Floyd7636177
Wayne7007199
Grant7003174
Boone6660101
Morgan6543139
Dubois6143117
Marshall5973111
Dearborn577977
Cass5777105
Henry5675102
Noble556583
Jackson500172
Shelby488596
Lawrence4482120
Gibson434191
Harrison433071
Clinton426653
DeKalb424184
Montgomery423188
Whitley393739
Huntington386980
Steuben381857
Miami379766
Knox371190
Jasper362147
Putnam358260
Wabash352578
Adams340554
Ripley338670
Jefferson328881
White312554
Daviess295499
Wells290481
Decatur283392
Fayette278462
Greene276285
Posey270733
Scott264553
LaGrange264270
Clay258645
Randolph239781
Washington239332
Spencer230831
Jennings229048
Starke213852
Fountain211846
Sullivan210942
Owen196356
Fulton194240
Jay190930
Carroll187820
Perry182537
Orange182154
Rush172725
Vermillion167843
Franklin167235
Tipton161945
Parke145616
Blackford134332
Pike132834
Pulaski116045
Newton107034
Brown101441
Crawford99114
Benton98114
Martin87515
Warren80915
Switzerland7828
Union70610
Ohio56211
Unassigned0413

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1078734

Reported Deaths: 19344
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1253471392
Cuyahoga1113202107
Hamilton797471200
Montgomery512091012
Summit46916933
Lucas41890782
Butler38250580
Stark32150907
Lorain24874480
Warren24236297
Mahoning21439586
Lake20548368
Clermont19719238
Delaware18478131
Licking16384210
Fairfield16116199
Trumbull15974466
Medina15213262
Greene15013244
Clark13942297
Wood13038188
Portage12792201
Allen11590231
Richland11300198
Miami10656215
Muskingum8787132
Wayne8760210
Columbiana8743229
Pickaway8540121
Marion8502135
Tuscarawas8461243
Erie7840154
Hancock6884126
Ross6830152
Ashtabula6765169
Geauga6664148
Scioto6393101
Belmont5837167
Union569647
Lawrence5542102
Jefferson5487151
Huron5419119
Darke5342122
Sandusky5322120
Seneca5258121
Athens518158
Washington5138109
Auglaize487884
Mercer479785
Shelby467693
Knox4477110
Madison435061
Putnam4263100
Ashland420989
Fulton420469
Defiance417797
Crawford3960106
Brown392457
Logan380976
Preble378498
Clinton369961
Ottawa366179
Highland353161
Williams337275
Champaign329658
Guernsey315353
Jackson311851
Perry294550
Morrow283739
Fayette281049
Hardin270164
Henry267966
Coshocton263958
Holmes2591101
Van Wert242663
Pike237333
Adams236552
Gallia235048
Wyandot230654
Hocking214862
Carroll191047
Paulding171740
Meigs144339
Noble133437
Monroe131242
Morgan108323
Harrison107437
Vinton82115
Unassigned02
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