The national director of No Labels doubled down on the idea of running a third-party ticket after the New Hampshire primary, saying the group is now more likely to present a “unity” ticket. He also did not rule out the possibility of Trump’s last remaining Republican rival, Nikki Haley, as one of the group’s candidates.
The Hill’s Kevin Cirilli on Wednesday asked No Labels National Director Joe Cunningham in an interview whether the group is more inclined to present a bipartisan ticket after former President’s Trump Tuesday victory in the New Hampshire primary.
“Well, I would say more because we’ve been very straightforward this entire time that if America wants another choice, we’re gonna offer it to them, and that’s why we’ve been working hard to secure ballot access across the country,” Cunningham said Wednesday.
No Labels is aiming to secure ballot access in all 50 states and D.C., and it is accepting donations to lay the groundwork for a third-party ticket. President Biden’s allies fear a centrist ticket would help get Trump reelected by peeling away votes from the incumbent.
The group has currently acquired ballot access in 14 states.
Cunningham said No Labels won’t unveil its plans, or its candidates, until after Super Tuesday on March 5.
“We are on 14 states and building every single week, and we’re gonna wait after Super Tuesday, when we know what these presumptive nominees look like, and if America still wants another choice, we’re gonna offer that ballot line to them,” Cunningham said.
Asked if the former South Carolina governor would be a “strong” No Labels nominee, Cunningham, a former South Carolina congressman, said that the group’s founding Chair and former Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) reached out to Haley and that the group applauds her trying to “bridge” the partisan divide in the country.
“Senator Lieberman extended warm wishes and accolades to Nikki Haley,” Cunningham said. “I applaud anybody who’s jumping in the race to give America options. Anybody who’s trying to bridge this partisan divide, I think that’s been the ethos from No Labels.”
Asked about the comments, Haley’s camp referred to a previous statement that said, “Nikki has no interest in No Labels, she’s happy with the Republican label.”
When pressed if “Sore Loser Laws” would prevent someone like Haley from running on the No Labels ticket, Cunningham said their attorneys are analyzing the issue, while cautioning that in some states, the laws apply to the office of the president but not the vice president.
“You have 50 different laboratories of democracy. So the ability to get on the ballot in one particular state differs from state to state,” he said.
“But again, these are things that attorneys look at. Our group looks at. We’re not going to do this half-prepared here.”
“Sore loser laws” refer to laws in states that bar candidates who sought and failed to secure the nomination of their first-choice party to then run as independents or as the nominee for another party in the general election.
No Labels has come under increasing scrutiny with the election 10 months away.
On Wednesday, two Democrat-leaning groups filed complaints trying to force the group to reveal its donors. And on Tuesday, two mega-donors sued the group for pulling a “bait and switch” and abandoning the mission they got behind when they donated $140,000.
No Labels has floated various candidates for their ticket. Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who stepped down as the group’s co-chair, is in consideration, along with Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who announced he will not run for reelection in the Senate.