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Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Andrew Yang’s Endorsement from Rep. Grace Meng Exhibits Momentum With Key Voting Bloc

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When Andrew Yang ran for president final yr, the shocking endurance of his candidacy was powered by a fiercely loyal, politically numerous group of supporters sometimes called the “Yang Gang.”

He additionally enthusiastically embraced his Taiwanese-American background, drawing assist from Asian-American voters, at the same time as he often fed stereotypical tropes like describing himself as “an Asian man who likes math.”

Now, Mr. Yang is working for mayor of New York Metropolis, and his attraction to that constituency could also be vital within the June 22 Democratic main. Asian-Individuals have typically accounted for six to 10 % of voters in earlier elections, and a big turnout may have an outsize affect on a race the place voter curiosity has been lagging.

On Monday, Mr. Yang obtained a serious enhance with an endorsement from Consultant Grace Meng, the highest-ranking Asian-American elected official in New York, as he seeks to solidify assist amongst Asian-American leaders.

Ms. Meng, the town’s first Asian-American member of Congress, mentioned she determined to again Mr. Yang after she saved listening to from her constituents in Queens who had been genuinely excited by him.

“They actually really feel like he’s somebody who offers them hope,” she mentioned in an interview.

Standing exterior a faculty in Flushing, Queens, with Ms. Meng, who can also be Taiwanese-American, Mr. Yang mentioned that Asian-Individuals had been typically thought-about an afterthought within the lifetime of the town. He mentioned that he was glad that individuals had been impressed by his marketing campaign, however he additionally desires to give attention to the nuts and bolts of enhancing their lives.

Mr. Yang, a former nonprofit govt, already has endorsements from key leaders in the neighborhood, together with Ron Kim, a distinguished Korean-American assemblyman in Queens, and Margaret Chin, a metropolis councilwoman from Hong Kong who represents Decrease Manhattan.

Asian-American voters symbolize an necessary constituency, with strongholds in Flushing and in Chinatowns in Manhattan and Sundown Park, Brooklyn. However they’re hardly a monolithic group: There’s nice range amongst Chinese language and Indian voters and alongside generational traces, with older voters skewing extra conservative.

Eric Adams, the Brooklyn borough president, was endorsed by a gaggle of Asian-American leaders final week in Sundown Park and in addition has assist from Peter Koo, a metropolis councilman from Queens who grew up in Hong Kong.

Greater than 700 individuals from the Asian-American group signed a letter opposing Mr. Yang, saying that he was too pro-police and perpetuated racist stereotypes, and that “illustration alone is just not sufficient.”

John Liu, a state senator who was a number one candidate for mayor in 2013, is contemplating endorsing Mr. Yang, however had not dominated out backing Mr. Adams or Maya Wiley, a former counsel to Mayor Invoice de Blasio. Mr. Liu mentioned that he likes a lot of Mr. Yang’s plans for the town and that Ms. Meng’s endorsement was important.

“Grace is a visual and influential chief, particularly on this explicit second that we’re in with the Asian-American group feeling below siege and unprotected and underrepresented,” Mr. Liu mentioned.

Mr. Adams had been banking on assist from the Asian-American group and continues to make the argument that voters can depend on him as a result of he has been their pal for a few years.

“Earlier than Yang, I used to be the Chinese language candidate,” Mr. Adams not too long ago instructed The New York Instances.

Mr. Yang has targeted consideration on violent assaults on Asian-Individuals in New York and throughout the nation and has spoken in regards to the discrimination he confronted rising up.

Bruce Gyory, a Democratic strategist who shouldn’t be working for anybody within the race, mentioned Mr. Yang may enhance Asian-American turnout within the main to greater than 10 %, evaluating him to Mayor Fiorello H. La Guardia, who was Italian-American and who drew voters to the polls.

“His prospects rely upon that being the actual fact, simply because it did for LaGuardia amongst Italian voters in 1933,” he mentioned.

The League of Asian Individuals of New York, a corporation that has hosted boards in latest months with some mayoral candidates, has not but made an endorsement. Lots of the group’s members are Chinese language-Individuals who turned politically engaged lately in an effort to oppose the elimination of admissions checks for New York’s specialised public excessive colleges.

David Lee, a number one member of the group, mentioned that the 2 most necessary points for the group had been public security and schooling.

Mr. Lee, a retired monetary analyst and registered Republican, mentioned that he appreciated Mr. Yang’s persona and approachability, and believed it was necessary to have an Asian-American mayor. However Mr. Adams was a lot stronger in supporting specialised testing and legislation enforcement, Mr. Lee mentioned, noting that Asian-American store homeowners have raised considerations about enforcement for shoplifting and violent crimes.

“He’s a former police officer. That basically says all of it,” Mr. Lee mentioned.

Mr. Adams has hammered Mr. Yang for his choice to depart New York Metropolis in the course of the pandemic and for not being a local New Yorker — Mr. Yang grew up in Schenectady, N.Y., and Westchester County, and has lived within the metropolis for greater than twenty years since attending Columbia Legislation College.

His spouse, Evelyn, grew up in Flushing and attended public faculty there. Her father owned a small enterprise, and her mom labored as an insurance coverage and actual property dealer earlier than changing into a stay-at-home mom. Her first job, the marketing campaign famous, was at a bagel store in Bayside, Queens.

Mr. Yang mentioned on Monday that he had a “particular connection” to voters in Queens due to his spouse’s roots, and it was like a “second residence” to him.

In downtown Flushing on Monday, response to Mr. Yang and the mayor’s race ranged from optimism to indifference, at the same time as giant posters of the candidate had been seen, together with exterior the busy New World Mall meals court docket.

Takla Tashi Lama, 42, who works within the jewellery enterprise and was ready in line on the Queens Public Library to be vaccinated, mentioned he deliberate to vote for Mr. Yang.

“He’s very exhausting working and honest,” he mentioned, including that he hoped Mr. Yang introduced transparency to Metropolis Corridor.

Benjamin Chin, 30, who was working at a vaccine website on the Queens Public Library, recognized himself as a proud member of the “Yang Gang.” He mentioned that one necessary concern for him was conserving the Specialised Excessive Colleges Admissions Take a look at to make it possible for Asian-American college students have a path to a great schooling. (Mr. Yang mentioned he desires to maintain the take a look at, however to additionally contemplate different standards as a part of the admissions course of to the elite excessive colleges.)

However most of all, Mr. Chin appreciated that Mr. Yang was an outsider.

“I’m very a lot in favor of not having a politician in workplace,” he mentioned. “I don’t belief politicians.”

Nicole Hong contributed reporting.

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