Whoever becomes mayor of New York City one year from January will likely have their hands full following the disaster left by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) and Mayor Bill de Blasio. Tens of thousands have fled the city after months of lockdowns, violent riots and soaring crime. But Andrew Yang is an opportunist.
The tech entrepreneur saw the Democratic crop of presidential candidates in 2019, crowded and uninspiring, and threw himself in the presidential race. Similarly, Yang now sees New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) has set the bar so low that Yang is eyeing an opportunity to gain some political experience.
The New York Post reports that Yang filed paperwork on Wednesday with New York City's Campaign Finance Board to begin raising money to run in the 2021 Democratic primary for mayor. The Post reports Yang's filing shows that he opted-in to New York City's public financing system for political campaigns. The system will give Yang $8 for every $1 that Yang manages to raise privately. As a condition of the financing, Yang has agreed to cap his campaign spending at $7.3 million. He is not expected to formally announce his run for mayor until sometime next month.
Yang's filing comes just days after current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told New Yorkers that his "mission is to redistribute wealth."
The filing also comes just days after Yang reportedly sat down with Rev. Al Sharpton, an MSNBC host and a Democrat kingmaker in New York City. Yang has been privately telling city leaders of his intention to run for the mayorship next year, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Yang has reportedly enlisted Bradley Tusk and Chris Coffey, two political strategists who once worked for Michael Bloomberg, a former New York City mayor and a failed Democratic presidential candidate.
When news broke in Nov. 2019 that Bloomberg was preparing to enter the presidential race, Yang welcomed the former mayor's entry in the primary.
"Mike has a very valuable perspective to offer," Yang said at the time. "I'm glad that he's looking at the race."
After poor showings in the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary, Yang ended his bid for the Democratic presidential nomination and became a political analyst for CNN. It was then that Michael Bloomberg reportedly approached the entrepreneur, asking for Yang's endorsement. The Bloomberg campaign also reportedly made overtures to Yang, including the possibility of Yang joining the ticket as Bloomberg's running mate. Bloomberg dropped out of the race after Super Tuesday and after spending $560 million dollars to win less than 30 delegates.
Yang was born and raised in New York, where he attended Brown University before graduating from Columbia Law School. He quickly found law work to be unsatisfying and unfulfilling and looked for alternative work. Yang participated in various startup companies and served as CEO of Manhattan Prep, a small test preparation company headquartered in New York City.
Last week, Yang raised eyebrows with a tweet calling for the creation of "barcodes" in order for Americans to prove they've been vaccinated for COVID-19.