Former Yang staffer launches primary challenge to Nadler

Former Yang staffer launches primary challenge to Nadler
© Greg Nash

A former staffer on Andrew Yang's presidential campaign announced Tuesday that he will challenge Rep. Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) in the Democratic primary next year, making him the latest candidate to take on the House Judiciary Committee chairman.

Jonathan Herzog, like his former boss, is running on a platform advocating for a $1,000 a month universal basic income (UBI), which he and Yang have both referred to as the "Freedom Dividend."

“My first priority will be to pass the Freedom Dividend,” Herzog said in a video Tuesday announcing his campaign launch.

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He told The Hill in a Tuesday interview that he supports a UBI because of a need to “provide folks with a meaningful transition” because of automation's impact on jobs.

“The question was, how can we...as quickly as possible pass meaningful solutions to the fact that we’re facing the fourth industrial revolution and none of our leading elected officials are addressing that,” Herzog said.

He added that he's not running for the purpose of unseating Nadler, who he described as a "a patriot and a great public servant" but rather to advance UBI. 

Herzog also endorsed "Medicare for All" and a $100 voucher that voters can donate to candidates in an effort to combat the influence of money in politics.

He previously served as Yang's Iowa campaign coordinator.

Yang campaign spokesman Randy Jones confirmed to The Hill that Herzog is no longer affiliated with the tech entrepreneur's White House bid.

Herzog is not the only Democrat challenging Nadler for his seat. Former New York state economic development official Lindsey Boylan is among a handful of others running in the Democratic primary for New York's 10th Congressional District.

Herzog said he was excited about the "robust" primary. 

“I certainly hope that folks in the 10th see how powerful and feasible the Freedom Dividend would be to improve their lives,” he said.

Updated at 5:50 p.m.