Andrew Yang, the former tech executive who gained a national following as a Democratic presidential candidate, has been privately telling New York City leaders that he intends to run for mayor next year.
Mr. Yang is not expected to announce his bid until next month, but with the Democratic primary less than seven months away, he has begun to make overtures to several of the city’s political power brokers.
He met with Corey Johnson, the speaker of the City Council, in a video call on Tuesday to seek his advice about running for mayor.
He plans to visit the Rev. Al Sharpton, the Harlem kingmaker — a rite of passage for any serious candidate — in person next week when he returns to the city from Georgia, where he has been trying to help Democrats win the U.S. Senate.
He has enlisted Bradley Tusk and Chris Coffey, prominent political strategists who worked for former Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, as advisers.
Mr. Yang, whose presidential campaign was centered around offering every American a universal basic income, could shake up a race that has a large field of candidates and no clear front-runner.
He would be only the second Asian-American candidate to run for mayor and appear on the ballot, following a bid in 2013 by John Liu, a state senator from Queens who was then the city’s comptroller. Arthur Chang, a J.P. Morgan executive who led NYC Votes, the Campaign Finance Board’s voter outreach program, is also planning to run.
Mr. Yang, who has temporarily relocated to Georgia to campaign for the Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff — both facing runoffs next month for U.S. Senate seats — declined to say on Thursday if he was running for mayor.
“I’m thrilled that people seem excited about my doing what I can to help, but no, right now I’m focused on these Senate races in Georgia,” he said in an interview.
While his name recognition and fund-raising potential could easily put him in the top tier of mayoral candidates, Mr. Yang has never run for office in New York City. He will have to learn quickly about the thorny issues that can animate voters, from rezoning proposals for the SoHo and Flushing, Queens, neighborhoods to the debate over the admissions exam for the city’s elite high schools that has pitted some Asian-American families against Black and Hispanic students.
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SOURCE: The New York Times, Emma G. Fitzsimmons