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Third-party movement No Labels says it will field a 2024 presidential ticket

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The third-party presidential movement No Labels decided Friday to field a presidential candidate in the 2024 election after months of weighing the launch of a so-called “unity ticket” and discussions with several prospects.

Delegates voted in favor of moving forward during an online convention of 800 of them from every state, said Mike Rawlings, a former Dallas mayor who is affiliated with No Labels.

No Labels was not expected to name its presidential and vice presidential nominees Friday. Instead, the group will announce its candidate selection process on March 14, Rawlings said in a statement.

“Even though we met virtually, their emotion and desire to bring this divided nation back together came through the screen,” Rawlings, Friday's convention chair, said about the delegates in a written statement.

The decision to move forward comes as a number of would-be candidates have already turned down the idea of running, including former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who suspended her campaign for the Republican presidential nomination after former President Donald Trump won big across Super Tuesday’s GOP primary map.

Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan had weighed running for president under the No Labels banner but has since decided to seek the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate from his state. Retiring West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat, has said he will not run for president.

Romps by Trump and President Joe Biden, a Democrat, on Super Tuesday all but ensured a November rematch of the 2020 election. Polls suggest many Americans don’t have favorable views of Biden or Trump, a dynamic No Labels sees as an opening to offer a bipartisan ticket.

But Biden supporters worry No Labels will pull votes away from the president in battleground states and are critical of how the group won’t disclose its donors or much of its decision-making.

The executive director of the group MoveOn, which is aligned with Democrats, said a No Labels ticket would help Trump win.

“Any candidates who join the No Labels presidential ticket will be complicit in making it easier for Donald Trump and MAGA extremists to win a second term in the White House," Executive Director Rahna Epting said in a written statement.

Third Way, another group that is aligned with Democrats and opposes a No Labels ticket, noted No Labels was moving forward without having first found a candidate.

“Time and again, voters, candidates, and election experts have told No Labels that a third-party presidential ticket can’t win and would help Trump,” Third Way Executive Vice President Matt Bennett said in a written statement.

No Labels had been weighing whether to present a ticket aimed at appealing to voters unhappy with Biden and Trump. The group’s strategists have said they’ll give their ballot line to a bipartisan ticket, with a presidential nominee from one major party and a vice presidential nominee from the other, if they see a path to victory.

Group officials have said they are communicating with several potential candidates but have not disclosed any names.

No Labels has stockpiled cash from people it has declined to name, including former Republican donors who have become disenchanted with the party’s direction in the Trump era, and has worked to secure ballot access in every state.

No Labels' decision was first reported by Politico.

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Follow the AP’s coverage of the 2024 election at https://apnews.com/hub/election-2024.