Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang filed paperwork to open a mayoral campaign account Wednesday, according to the Campaign Finance Board. The move comes after weeks of speculation and two polls showing him atop the current field.
Should the 45 year old ultimately decide to take the plunge, he would bring name recognition and a devoted online following to the race just as things begin to pick up ahead of the June primary.
Context: Yang’s presidential candidacy was anchored by the concept of a universal basic income, which in his case meant $1,000 a month to everyone in the country over the age of 18. And while he went from a complete unknown to wide recognition nationally, the Manhattanite dropped out in February to endorse President-elect Joe Biden.
City coffers hold nowhere near enough dough to make his signature policy work on the municipal level, but according to people who have spoken with Yang, he would propose a modified version of the concept.
Early polls: Yang led the field in two recent polls, one commissioned by a charter school advocacy group and the other by Tusk Strategies, which is advising the presumptive candidate. He netted more than 15 percent in each case and bested second-place finishers Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and City Comptroller Scott Stringer. However, many of those queried had not yet made up their minds.
What’s next: Yang has been dropping hints that he would run for weeks and is expected to launch his bid in January. His inexperience in city politics and civic circles could be a significant hurdle, but supporters are hoping his persona as a successful tech entrepreneur and political outsider with an easily digestible campaign platform could succeed in New York after failing nationwide.