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 3:10 PM
Updated: Feb 12, 2020 3:10 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."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 320107

Reported Deaths: 7378
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22291269
Hinds20741421
Harrison18444317
Rankin13917282
Jackson13731249
Madison10270224
Lee10060176
Jones8473167
Forrest7834153
Lauderdale7263242
Lowndes6523150
Lamar636088
Lafayette6314121
Washington5426137
Bolivar4841133
Panola4671110
Oktibbeha466398
Pearl River4606147
Marshall4574105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc425973
Monroe4161136
Union415877
Neshoba4064180
Lincoln4009113
Hancock387087
Leflore3516125
Tate342586
Sunflower339491
Pike3372111
Alcorn327473
Scott320374
Yazoo314371
Adams308386
Itawamba305178
Copiah299966
Coahoma298984
Simpson298589
Tippah292268
Prentiss284261
Leake272274
Marion271280
Covington267283
Wayne264842
Grenada264087
George252251
Newton248963
Tishomingo232268
Winston230181
Jasper222148
Attala215173
Chickasaw210559
Holmes190374
Stone188733
Clay187954
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174232
Yalobusha167840
Smith164134
Walthall135447
Greene131834
Lawrence131224
Montgomery128643
Noxubee128034
Perry127538
Amite126342
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Jefferson Davis108334
Tunica108127
Claiborne103130
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96729
Franklin85023
Quitman82316
Choctaw79118
Wilkinson69632
Jefferson66328
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 549013

Reported Deaths: 11311
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson810461571
Mobile42145831
Madison35718525
Tuscaloosa26179458
Shelby25626254
Montgomery25089614
Baldwin21901314
Lee16287176
Calhoun14724327
Morgan14639285
Etowah14183364
Marshall12454230
Houston10791287
Elmore10301214
Limestone10188157
St. Clair10161251
Cullman9958201
Lauderdale9612250
DeKalb8977190
Talladega8462184
Walker7341280
Autauga7242113
Jackson6953113
Blount6950139
Colbert6415140
Coffee5638127
Dale4930116
Russell454941
Chilton4478116
Franklin431782
Covington4279122
Tallapoosa4144155
Escambia401880
Chambers3728124
Dallas3610158
Clarke353161
Marion3245107
Pike314578
Lawrence3134100
Winston283572
Bibb268564
Geneva258481
Marengo250665
Pickens237062
Barbour234559
Hale227178
Butler224671
Fayette218962
Henry194443
Randolph187644
Cherokee187345
Monroe180641
Washington170739
Macon163051
Clay160159
Crenshaw156357
Cleburne153644
Lamar146937
Lowndes142254
Wilcox126930
Bullock124542
Conecuh113630
Coosa111629
Perry108626
Sumter105832
Greene93634
Choctaw62125
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