By Stella Lorence
BU News Service
PORTSMOUTH, N.H. –– Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang announced he would be suspending his campaign following disappointing turnout in Iowa and New Hampshire along with a lack of funds.
“Though thousands of voters came out for our campaign tonight, tonight is not the outcome we fought so hard to achieve,” Yang said. “I am not someone who wants to accept donations in support in a race we will not win, and so tonight I am announcing that I am suspending my campaign for president.”
The crowd erupted into chants of “Andrew Yang” following his announcement.
“I’m shocked, totally shocked,” said volunteer Gene Bishop, 81, of Ashland, New Hampshire. “You put a lot of time and emotion into these guys,” said Bishop, who had donated to Yang’s campaign. “It’s hard.”
Bishop said he was drawn to Yang’s optimistic outlook.
“He never spoke negatively about other candidates,” Bishop said. “When someone asked him a question, he actually answered it. He was so unique, I was so excited to have someone like him running. Now, all that’s left are the same old run-of-the-mill candidates.”
With Yang down to $3.7 million cash on hand going into 2020 and a slew of staff layoffs following a fifth-place result in Iowa, some found his announcement unsurprising.
“Everyone on the team had a pretty good grasp of the numbers,” said Field Organizer Lola Combs, 22, of Dover, New Hampshire.
Yang’s support for a universal basic income had become one of the biggest selling points of his campaign. Yang and many supporters are proud that the idea has become part of the national conversation, increasing popular support to 66% of democrats, Yang said in his speech.
“He drew us in with [Universal Basic Income] but kept us with his broader policy,” said Chuck Fassi, 50, of Manchester. Fassi and his wife were one of 13 families to receive a trial run of Yang’s Freedom Dividend, a program that offers a basic income of $1,000 per month.
“I didn’t really know much about [Freedom Dividend] when we got chosen for it, but I’ve come to the realization that we’re going to have to do it or something like it,” Fassi said.
First-time candidate volunteer, Cathy Kneeland, 53, was drawn to Yang’s message of “humanity first” and his idea of the Freedom Dividend.
“I was really hoping he’d go further,” Kneeland said. “I was just sad more people didn’t get to hear his messages,” she said. “He’s inspired so many people.”
Kneeland said she’s now motivated to get more involved in local politics and might volunteer for the upcoming Massachusetts Senate race.