Brooklyn councilman and former mayoral hopeful Carlos Menchaca has endorsed frontrunner Andrew Yang for mayor. The announcement was made at an event in Red Hook Wednesday morning, and was simultaneously live-streamed on Yang’s YouTube channel.
Before dropping out of the race last month, Menchaca was one of the most left-leaning Democratic candidates and was often opposed to Yang’s more moderate stances.
At Wednesday’s event, however, the two men focused primarily on how their backgrounds and identities informed the endorsement.
“I connected to Andrew’s story, which is the story of an immigrant family,” said Menchaca, who is Mexican-American. “We share a lot of values that are rooted in bringing community voices to the table to shape policies.”
Yang, an Asian-American son of immigrants, agreed with the sentiment:
“One of the reasons why Carlos and I see eye-to-eye is that we want to humanize government,” explained the tech entrepreneur and one-time presidential hopeful. “We want our government working better for us and the people.”
During the event, Menchaca spoke positively of Yang’s plan to create a public bank, which would offer loans at lower interest rates and fees than private institutions. Menchaca explained that such a measure would greatly benefit immigrant communities throughout the city, including those in his southern Brooklyn district.
Also at Wednesday’s event, Yang spoke about his plan to pressure wire transfer and check-cashing services like Western Union to lower their remittance fees. The candidate explained that such charges disproportionately affect immigrants communities who send money to relatives outside of the U.S.
Menchaca rose to prominence in city politics for his progressive actions, including his successful effort to stop a rezoning in Sunset Park. Yang, on the other hand, is known for his pro-business and pro-real estate stances, making the endorsement an unlikely alliance.
Other progressive candidates have also recently endorsed Yang, including Congressman Ritchie Torres of the Bronx and Assemblyman Ron Kim of Queens. The endorsements could possibly sway more left-leaning New Yorkers, who have remained skeptical of Yang’s moderate beliefs.
Last week, Yang was also given flak from his opponent, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who criticized the frontrunner for holding an event about placard abuse instead of focusing on racial justice in the wake of Duante Wright’s death in Minnesota.
“I think about what’s happening to families in New York all the time, particularly to victims of violent crime,” Yang said in response to Adams. “I think New Yorkers sense that we have the capacity to do multiple things at once.”
Standing with Yang in Red Hook, Menchaca highlighted the kindness and personable attitude that led to the endorsement. He said Yang contacted him after he dropped out of the race, a personal touch that strengthened their relationship.
“We connected on that human level,” Menchaca explained. “That’s the kind of mayor I want to have.”