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No Labels won't run a 3rd-party 'unity' ticket against Trump, Biden

No Labels will not run a third-party "unity" ticket against Donald Trump and Joe Biden in the 2024 presidential election, the group said Thursday.

In a statement, the centrist group said they were unable to find a candidate that had a credible path to winning on their hypothetical bipartisan platform -- "so the responsible course of action is for us to stand down."

"We will remain engaged over the next year during what is likely to be the most divisive presidential election of our lifetimes," the group said. "We will promote dialogue around major policy challenges and call out both sides when they speak and act in bad faith."

The decision was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Despite being unable to field a satisfactory candidate, No Labels said Thursday that "Americans remain more open to an independent presidential run and hungrier for unifying national leadership than ever before."

"Big ideas are not new for us," the group said in its statement. "We have been working since 2010 to organize citizens across America and members of Congress through the Problem Solvers Caucus, which we created to push back on the extremes in our politics and push forward solutions to America’s biggest problems. That work is more important now than ever."

"For now, suffice it to say that this movement is not done," the group went on to say. "In fact, it is just beginning."

The move caught some allies by surprise: No Labels delegates were not told beforehand and learned via media reports, according to sources familiar, and some of those who were hopeful for a potential candidate now say they are extremely frustrated with the process.

"it was getting very difficult to get a real quality candidate to step forward. And we were true to our word that we would not just run someone and be a spoiler," one donor and delegate with the group told ABC News.

This person called Thursday's decision "very frustrating" and "disappointing to all."

Among the names that had been floated by the group were former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear, Louisiana Sen. Bill Cassidy and New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu.

But none of those figures ended up getting on board.

"While I believe this is a conversation that needs to be had with the American people, I also believe that if there is not a pathway to win and if my candidacy in any way, shape or form would help Donald Trump become president again, then it is not the way forward," Christie said in a statement last week.

A source close to Christie previously told ABC News that he took No Labels very seriously -- commissioning polls and talking to donors -- but ultimately thought there wasn’t a viable path to the presidency and that him running third-party could help elect Trump.

For the past year and a half, the group's leadership has held private conversations with potential candidates in an attempt to lure in former and current political figures, according to people familiar with the outreach.

At the same time, the group has repeatedly rebuffed the argument that its hypothetical ticket of one Democrat and one Republican would merely act as a "spoiler" -- probably for Biden.

"We will never fuel a spoiler candidate," No Labels' chief strategist, Ryan Clancy, has said. "We don't want to fuel any sort of candidacy that's pulling more votes from one side."

No Labels faced a self-imposed soft deadline of early April to field a ticket in the 2024 presidential race, having declared last month that it would move forward with a third-party independent bid.

The group had been slated to hold a Dallas convention on April 14 and 15 to hear from supporters and gauge whether the group would launch a third-party ticket. The convention ended up taking place virtually in March -- a month earlier than planned, despite wanting to allow for more time.

ABC News' Rick Klein contributed to this report.

No Labels won't run a 3rd-party 'unity' ticket against Trump, Biden originally appeared on abcnews.go.com