Ex-presidential contender Andrew Yang files papers to run for New York mayor

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur and former 2020 U.S. presidential contender, has filed papers to run for mayor of New York City as a Democrat in next year’s elections, according to the city’s Campaign Finance Board.

FILE PHOTO: Former 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang speaks by video feed during the 4th and final night of the 2020 Democratic National Convention, as participants from across the country are hosted over video links from the originally planned site of the convention in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S. August 20, 2020. 2020 Democratic National Convention/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

Yang, who had no background in electoral politics, built an ardent grassroots following in the race to become the Democratic Party’s nominee for the presidency with his pledge to create a universal basic income that would pay every American $1,000 a month.

He ended his campaign in February after poor showings in the first two state primary contests in Iowa and New Hampshire.

He has not formally declared his candidacy in New York, but should he proceed he would enter the race to succeed Mayor Bill de Blasio with the advantage of high name recognition among voters.

Yang could not immediately be reached for comment on Wednesday.

More than a dozen other candidates have already declared, including Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer and Maya Wiley, a civil rights activist and lawyer who previously worked for de Blasio.

De Blasio, a Democrat, is nearing the end of his second and final term. Registered Democrats will vote for their nominee on June 22, 2021, ahead of the general election on Nov. 2.

The Ivy League-educated son of Taiwanese immigrants and a native New Yorker, Yang would be the city’s first Asian-American mayor.

During his presidential run, he argued that a universal basic income was needed to counteract the effects of automation, which he said threatened the jobs of millions of Americans.

He previously worked as a corporate lawyer before founding a company that helped students prepare for school tests and a non-profit organization called Venture For America, which trains recent college graduates to work at startup companies.

Reporting by Jonathan Allen; editing by Grant McCool