DemDaily: No Labels Bows Out

April 5, 2024

"No Labels," the third-party movement that claims to carry the banner of the "commonsense" centrist majority, announced yesterday that they will not field a presidential candidate in the 2024 election.

“Americans remain more open to an independent presidential run and hungrier for unifying national leadership than ever before,” the group said in a statement Thursday.

“But No Labels has always said we would only offer our ballot line to a ticket if we could identify candidates with a credible path to winning the White House. No such candidates emerged, so the responsible course of action is for us to stand down.” - founding CEO Nancy Jacobson

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The controversial organization, founded in 2010 as a political non-profit, originally focused on creating "common ground" between moderate Republicans and Democrats and is credited with the formation of the Congressional Problem Solvers Caucus.

No Labels, which has built a formidable national network and fundraising operation, has come under intense criticism in recent years for straying from its founding focus of encouraging bipartisan policy legislation to advancing an ambitious political agenda driven by its leadership.

The group has amassed a $60 million war chest since they first publicly began exploring an independent presidential candidate in 2021. As a registered nonprofit, No Labels is not required to disclose the sources of its funding.

As a non-profit, No Labels cannot contribute directly to candidates or political committees, but contributions from its individual members, employees and their families amounted to more than $4.5 million to candidates in 2022. 59.1% of their contributions went to Republican candidates and 40.9% to Democrats.

Democratic lawmakers have accused them of "[using] a false message of unity to sow division" and being a "dark money group" that one former contributor said "has lost its way, abandoned its original mission, and fundamentally betrayed its donors' trust in the process."

The No Labels' campaign has been met with significant backlash from across the political spectrum over concerns that their "unity" ticket could play a spoiler role in the 2024 presidential election -- to the advantage of former President Donald Trump.

Yesterday's announcement comes less than a month after the group's March 15 online convention, where 800 delegates voted to move forward with identifying a bipartisan third-party "unity ticket."

The group had qualified for the ballot in 21 states and claimed to have a clear way of getting on the ballot in the remaining states and territories, once candidates were nominated.

No Labels struggled to find anyone of significant stature to join the unity ticket, despite reaching out to more than 30 candidates. A number of would-be candidates took their names out of the running, including former UN Ambassador and GOP presidential contender Nikki Haley (R-SC); Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), an original NL co-founder; and former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R), who is running for Maryland's open Senate seat. Former Georgia lieutenant governor Geoff Duncan (R) and former New Jersey governor Chris Christie (R) also declined to run on a No Labels ticket.

The announcement also comes after No Labels lost its chief advisor and founding Board Chair, former US Senator and former Vice Presidential candidate Joe Lieberman (D-CT), who passed away unexpectedly due to complications from a fall March 27. Lieberman was intimately involved in the candidate recruitment and is an irreplaceable loss for the group.

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Their exit from the presidential field leaves just a handful of independent and third-party candidates. Those include leftist intellectual and activist Cornell West, who is polling at 2%, and presumptive Green Party nominee Jill Stein at 1.7%. The Libertarian Party will nominate a candidate in late May.

The most prominent candidate is Robert F Kennedy Jr, who is currently averaging about 12% in the polls,

The somewhat litigious Kennedy, who has espoused vaccination conspiracy theories, among others, is something of a political enigma -- with a range of people on the ideological spectrum who have been drawn to his candidacy and his self-proclaimed role as "a spoiler."

DemList will keep you informed.

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Kimberly Scott
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Resources: No Labels, Politico, Vox, Washington Post, CNN, CBS

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