DemDaily: No Labels Launches “Unity” Campaign

March 15, 2024

"No Labels," a third-party presidential movement claiming to carry the banner of "the commonsense majority," has formally entered the race for the White House.

The non-profit political organization, whose stated mission is to support "centrism and bipartisanship," announced last Friday that they would be fielding a presidential candidate in the 2024 election.

The proclamation follows the vote of 800 delegates during the group's online convention to move forward with identifying a third-party "unity ticket" in the coming weeks.

The insurgent organization revealed its candidate selection process last night, along with the members of the nominating committee charged with selecting what is expected to be a Republican presidential candidate and Democratic vice president. The day's rollout appears to have been delayed by yesterday morning's resignation of No Labels' National Co-Chair and former North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory (R), who is stepping down after a year of voluntary service.

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

Background
Founded in 2010 by former Democratic consultant Nancy Jacobson, No Labels initially focused on creating "common ground" between moderate Republicans and Democrats alarmed by their parties' more "extreme" factions.

The group's efforts are credited with the 2017 creation of the Congressional Problem Solvers Caucus, whose 60+ membership is equally divided between Democrats and Republicans "committed to advancing common-sense solutions to key issues facing our nation."

No Labels, however, 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.

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 controversial organization, which has built a formidable national network and fundraising operation, has amassed a $70 million war chest since it first publicly began exploring an independent presidential candidate in 2021. A registered nonprofit, it is not required to disclose the sources of its funding.

As a tax-exempt 501(c)(4) "social welfare organization," No Labels is prohibited from working for or raising money on behalf of a political candidate but can conduct nonpartisan ballot access work such as voter registration drives and research. Likewise, it cannot contribute directly to candidates or political committees, but contributions from No Labels' individual members, employees and their families amounted to more than $4.5 million to candidates in 2022 -- 59.1% of which went to Republican candidates and 40.9% to Democrats.

The group has successfully qualified for the ballot in 16 states. where it will be listed as Independent, and is aggressively pursuing all states and territories.

In January, No Labels filed an election interference complaint with the Department of Justice, citing "intimidation tactics" from both left- and right-wing groups to prevent it from putting forward a candidate in every state before the November general election.

Super PAC Citizens to Save Our Republic, driven by prominent current and former bipartisan lawmakers including former House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and former Congressman Dick Gephardt (D-MO), is among their main detractors.

A number of No Labels' would-be candidates have taken their names out of the running, including former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley (R-SC), who suspended her bid for the GOP nomination March 6; Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), an original NL co-founder; and most recently former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R), who on February 9 announced his campaign for Maryland's open Senate seat.

Republican Geoff Duncan, a former Georgia Lt. Governor and frequent Trump critic, is said to be among the top contenders for the NL ticket.

No Labels founding Board Chair, former US Senator and former Vice Presidential candidate Joe Lieberman (D-CT) has insisted that the organization will not be a spoiler.

“We want to give the American people the third choice, bipartisan, moderate, that they say they want. But if for some reason, after two or three months, they say they don’t want it, we have got to be realistic and say, ‘This is not the year.’”

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Kimberly Scott
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Sources: No Labels, Politico, Washington Post, CBS, NBC, NPR

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