Three candidates left the Democratic presidential race after disappointing results in Tuesday’s New Hampshire primary.
Businessman Andrew Yang, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet all announced they were exiting the race following the Granite State’s primary, in which they finished eighth, ninth and 10th, respectively.
Despite this being his first foray into electoral politics, Yang made the biggest impact in the race of the three, raising millions of dollars and appearing on nearly every debate stage of the cycle. His enthusiastic supporters, who dubbed themselves “the Yang Gang,” helped raise the profile of the former lawyer and startup founder’s key issue: universal basic income, which would pay every American 18 or older $1,000 a month. Yang viewed his “Freedom dividend” as a way to counter the expansion of automation and artificial intelligence, which he portrayed as one of the biggest problems for Americans going forward. Supporters wore shirts with the slogan “MATH: Make America Think Harder.”
“I am not someone who wants to accept donations and support in a race that we will not win,” Yang told supporters in Manchester Tuesday night. He boasted that “I’ve already outlasted a dozen governors, former governors and members of Congress” and “the Yang Gang has fundamentally shifted the direction of this country and transformed our politics, and we are only continuing to grow.”
Within hours Yang hinted he was considering a run for mayor of New York City. The incumbent, Bill de Blasio — who dropped his own presidential bid in September — must leave office after his second term is over at the end of 2021.
Patrick waited until Wednesday afternoon to officially announce he was ending a candidacy that never truly took off. The former two-term governor of Massachusetts entered the race less than three months ago, a late launch that resulted in his failing to ever make a debate stage. (An ominous sign was when Patrick had to cancel an event at Morehouse College a week after he announced he was running when only two people showed up.)
“The vote in New Hampshire last night was not enough for us to create the practical wind at the campaign’s back to go on to the next round of voting. So I have decided to suspend the campaign, effective immediately,” Patrick said in a statement. “I am not suspending my commitment to help — there is still work to be done. We are facing the most consequential election of our lifetime. Our democracy itself, let alone our civic commitments to equality, opportunity and fair play, are at risk.”
The departure of Patrick, who is black, means the only nonwhite candidate left in the Democratic field is Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who is of mixed Polynesian ancestry.
Bennet, who has represented Colorado in the Senate since 2009, also announced his departure on Tuesday night in front of supporters in the Granite State. Bennet had positioned himself as the sensible moderate in the race but failed to gain any traction in polling or fundraising despite his participation in the first two debates last summer. Bennet campaigned hard in New Hampshire, crossing the state for town halls, and was endorsed by James Carville, the former campaign manager for Bill Clinton, but it wasn’t enough to get even 1 percent of the vote.
“I am going to do absolutely everything I can do as one human being to make sure that Donald Trump is a one-term president,” said Bennet, who pledged to support the eventual Democratic winner.
Eight candidates remain: Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Gabbard and billionaires Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg.
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