Category Archives: third parties

“Court battle reveals effort to undermine No Labels presidential bid”

WaPo:

Political operatives opposed to No Labels’ potential 2024 presidential ticket took over the NoLabels.com domain last year and purchased Google search ads aimed at spreading the misleading claim that the group supported former president Donald Trump and other right-wing causes, according to testimony in a federal civil trial here.

Arizona political operative Charles Siler, who led the effort, described in a recorded deposition how he created a website that echoed the design, color scheme and language of No Labels’ actual website, NoLabels.org. But the mirror website was filled with pictures of politicians not embraced by No Labels, including Trump and House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.).

Siler said in his deposition that he was motivated by a desire to rally a “community of motivated, disaffected and unaffiliated voters” that has been attracted to the No Labels group. But a planning deck he created for the project, which was produced Thursday in the U.S. District Court of Delaware, suggested a different motive.

“This is a real opportunity for us to mirror the NL.ORG language while also framing the entire NL project as a right-wing shadow effort by crafting language that looks like it’s coming from NL,” said the deck.

The court case comes amid ongoing debate over the goals of the No Labels effort, which aims to potentially place a yet-to-be-identified bipartisan presidential ticket on as many ballots as possible. Many Democrats and moderate Republicans fiercely oppose the idea, fearing that such a ticket could hand the White House back to Trump.

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“Democrats sound alarm, take action against Biden’s third-party threats”

WaPo:

Democratic alarm over third-party challengers spoiling President Biden’s reelection has been growing in recent weeks, prompting a new push both inside the party and among allied outside groups to step up their efforts fighting back.

The Democratic National Committee hired a new communications adviser last month to counter the third-party candidates, while outside groups working for Biden’s election have been having discussions about a new organization that could coordinate about the wide range of threats.

A recent five-way national poll by Quinnipiac University that named Biden, former president Donald Trump, attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr., scholar Cornel West and activist Jill Stein showed the combined third-party candidates drawing nearly 1 in 5 voters. A separate effort, by the bipartisan group No Labels, continues to move forward in its search for candidates that could challenge the major-party duopoly.

That polling, combined with increased activism on the left in reaction to Israel’s war in Gaza, has provided a boost to outsiders who are traveling the country in an uphill battle to gain ballot access. Kennedy is seeking to establish a new We the People party with candidates who can run downballot of him in some states, while West has launched a less-well-funded effort to create the Justice for All party, and Stein has sought to expand the reach of the Green Party.

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“No Labels Sued by New York Donors Claiming ‘Bait and Switch'”

NYT:

Two members of the powerful Durst real estate family in New York have sued the centrist group No Labels, accusing it of pulling a “bait and switch” by seeking donations for a bipartisan governing group and then moving to fund a third-party presidential candidacy.

The breach of contract and “unjust enrichment” suit was filed in New York State Supreme Court on Tuesday by the chairman and president of the Durst Organization, Douglas and Jonathan Durst, who are cousins. It seeks damages and reimbursements after the Dursts donated $145,000 years ago, when No Labels was founded on the promise of finding governing solutions.

The suit is an escalation of complaints that have trailed the group for much of the last few years, and it suggests that No Labels has morphed into something other than its original mission ahead of the 2024 election.

“This case seeks to hold No Labels accountable for the consequences of its misguided actions that have left its original benefactors like the Dursts feeling bewildered, betrayed and outraged,” the suit says.

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“R.F.K. Jr. Allies Say They’ll Spend Over $10 Million on Ballot Access”

NYT:

A super PAC backing the independent presidential candidacy of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is planning to spend $10 million to $15 million to get Mr. Kennedy on the ballot in 10 states, a substantial effort that, even if partly successful, could heighten Democratic concerns about his potential to play the role of spoiler in 2024.

The hefty sum underscores the challenge facing Mr. Kennedy, an environmental lawyer and prominent purveyor of conspiracy theories, as he pursues his long-shot White House bid. It also shows the substantial financial support he has generated so far.

The super PAC, American Values 2024, has raised at least $28 million. (The group last disclosed its unofficial fund-raising haul in early October, but has not filed official records since mandatory midyear reports with the Federal Election Commission in July, when it had $9.8 million on hand.) The group was planning to announce the strategy on Monday, according to a draft announcement reviewed by The New York Times.

The states, which include several battlegrounds, are among the country’s most populous and carry, between them, 210 Electoral College votes — Arizona, California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Nevada, New York and Texas.

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“Latino Business Advocate Stung by Misconduct Claims Resurfaces With ‘No Labels’”

NYT:

No Labels, the centrist organization that is vying to gain ballot access for the 2024 presidential election, has joined forces with Javier Palomarez, an advocate of Hispanic-owned businesses with a history of allegations of workplace financial misconduct and sexual harassment.

In 2018, Mr. Palomarez stepped down from his job as chief executive of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce while facing accusations that he had padded his pay and had made an unwanted pass at his female chief of staff. He denied those allegations and later sued the chamber. He also sued one of the group’s former directors, saying that he had been sexually harassed. Both matters were ultimately settled out of court in 2019.

In an interview on Tuesday evening, Mr. Palomarez said his departure from the Hispanic Chamber was a result of a witch hunt against him because he elected to work with instead of against the Trump administration. He said he “won the lawsuits” against his accusers, though he said the terms of the settlements remained confidential. He declined to reveal them. “All I can do is tell you I maintained my innocence then and I maintain it now,” he said.

Mr. Palomarez is a self-described Democrat who resigned from a diversity coalition convened by the Trump administration over its efforts to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. He appears on cable news occasionally to criticize President Biden on issues like immigration and domestic energy production. He is also the founder and chief executive of an advocacy organization with a mission similar to that of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, his former employer, and is now a volunteer leader at No Labels.

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“Third Party Candidates Shouldn’t Get Their Hopes Up”

Andy Craig offers a thorough explanation of why a random third party run is unlikely to be successful, even if the candidate has name recognition and some popularity. Think Joe Manchin or Larry Hogan. Craig could have gone further: It is a stretch to call “No Labels, a would-be centrist third party.” The group is incorporated, funded, and may manage to get on the ballot in all 50 states. It is also apparently supported by a number of Republican elites, men and women (but mostly men) deposed by their party. But it is hardly a party. Unlike the Republican Party that brought Lincoln to power, it lacks party “organization” in any real sense. It lacks partisan boots on the ground, local party organizations, civic allies with ties to ordinary citizens and, most importantly, voters.

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“Fearing Third-Party Spoilers vs. Trump, Biden Allies Try to Squash Them”

NY Times:

Powerful allies of President Biden are aggressively working to stop third-party and independent presidential candidacies, fearing that an outside bid could cost Democrats an election that many believe will again come down to a few percentage points in key battleground states.

As attempts to mount outside campaigns multiply, a broad coalition has accelerated a multipronged assault to starve such efforts of financial and political support and warn fellow Democrats that supporting outsider candidacies, including the centrist organization No Labels, could throw the election to former President Donald J. Trump.

Mr. Biden’s top aides have blessed the multimillion-dollar offensive, which cuts across the party, tapping the resources of the Democratic National Committee, labor unions, abortion rights groups, top donors and advocacy groups backing moderate and liberal Democrats. Even the president has helped spread the word: Mr. Biden, in an interview with ProPublica, said a No Labels candidacy would “help the other guy.”

The endeavor is far-reaching. In Washington, Democratic allies are working alongside top party strategists to spread negative information about possible outsider candidates. Across the country, lawyers have begun researching moves to limit ballot access — or at least make it more costly to qualify.

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“Spoiler alert: Biden world is taking third-party threats seriously”

Politico:

LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman convened a Zoom call with 30 other like-minded donors this week to address a persistent fear among national Democrats: Third-party candidates who could undercut Joe Biden’s campaign.

In particular, the donors on the line were worried about No Labels, a group that said it has raised millions to gain access to the ballot in at least 10 states for a potential presidential candidate. Hoffman and Matt Bennett, co-founder of the centrist organization Third Way, argued during the meeting that not only is a third-party victory implausible but that independent candidates would inevitably hurt Biden, said one participant on the call, granted anonymity to discuss the issue candidly….

Those worries are shared within the Biden campaign. Among those charged with getting the president reelected, there’s a consensus that a third-party candidate would almost certainly hurt the Democrat in the race, according to four Biden advisers not authorized to speak publicly about internal campaign deliberations.

It’s not just No Labels that has gotten their attention. Robert F. Kennedy Jr., is another potential spoiler for Biden — should he run as an independent, as anticipated — along with recently-minted independent candidate Cornel West.

“I think it’s exceedingly difficult for Trump to win a traditional campaign against Biden so, like 2016, the only path for his victory is with help from third parties and outside actors,” said John Della Volpe, who polled for the Biden campaign in 2020. “Right now, the group of potential Independent Party candidates are more likely, as a group, to hurt Biden than Trump.”

Among the perceived spoilers, West is seen as the most potent threat to the reelect because of his potential to tap into discontent among some Black voters unhappy with Biden’s ability to secure new voting rights legislation or broad student debt relief, according to several Biden aides granted anonymity to speak about the discussions. Aides also fear it would not take much for West to sway some young voters and voters of color in key cities such as Atlanta, Philadelphia or Milwaukee.

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“Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Flirts With the Libertarian Party”

NYT:

For months, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has said he plans to continue his long-shot challenge against President Biden in the Democratic primary rather than dropping out to launch a third-party bid.

But lately Mr. Kennedy’s message has seemed to shift, including publicly telling a voter who asked about his plans that he was keeping his “options open.”

If Mr. Kennedy does decide to leave the party of his famous father and uncles to run in the general election, one potential landing spot may be the Libertarian Party, which at the moment lacks a widely known candidate but has excelled at securing ballot access.

In July, Mr. Kennedy met privately with Angela McArdle, the chair of the Libertarian Party, at a conference they were both attending in Memphis — a meeting that has not previously been reported….

In a general election, Democrats worry that a third-party run by Mr. Kennedy could draw votes away from Mr. Biden and help elect former President Donald J. Trump. They have expressed similar concerns about No Labels, the bipartisan group trying to recruit a moderate candidate for a third-party run, and also about the progressive scholar Cornel West, who is already in the race to lead the Green Party’s ticket for 2024.

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“No Labels to GOP donors: We are your anti-Trump alternative”

Politico:

The centrist group No Labels has targeted Republican donors disaffected with Donald Trump, pitching its unity ticket as a way to beat the former president without funding an entity assisting President Joe Biden.

Such a strategy was confirmed by three people who have either heard the pitch or are familiar with it and were granted anonymity to speak candidly about private fundraising conversations. It could have profound political ripple effects, complicating both the current Republican primary and future general election by siphoning funds away from candidates and entities challenging Trump to a ticket that does not yet exist.

Some Republicans say No Labels insists that donations to it are “a good way to keep Trump out and not have to donate to Biden,” according to a person representing a corporate CEO who was approached by the group. The person is receptive to No Labels’ message of bipartisanship — but skeptical of the organization’s aims to mount a third-party bid.

No Labels spokesperson Maryanne Martini said in a statement, “Once again anonymous sources are inventing hidden agendas for No Labels’ 2024 insurance project. We’re very clear about what we’re doing and why, which is to give voice to America’s commonsense majority by getting ballot access in states nationwide.”

Democrats have expressed alarm with the group’s approach. They warn that No Labels’ presidential ticket would likely harm Biden even as the group insists that it will not play the role of spoiler. One donor who frequently attends No Labels meetings said virtual sessions have recently focused on “the backlash” that No Labels is getting from Democrats.

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