The “No Labels” political organization has so far qualified for 2024 presidential election ballots in 13 states. And with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie having officially dropped out of the GOP race president, it may have found a potential candidate.
Former Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, who chairs No Labels, told SiriusXM radio host Michael Smerconish on Thursday he’s reached out to Christie to gauge his interest in joining a bipartisan presidential ticket.
“I think he could be a strong candidate,” Lieberman said.
Lieberman’s comments followed news that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) will be appearing at Politics and Eggs” at Saint Anselm College in Manchester Friday morning.
No Labels is committed to putting together a “Unity Ticket,” according to the organization, with a Democrat and Republican running for the White House together. It has also pledged, however, that it will not do anything that might help return Donald Trump to the White House.
In his speech announcing his withdrawal from the race Wednesday, Christie made the same pledge. “I am going to make sure that in no way do I enable Donald Trump ever be president of the United States again. And that’s more important than my own personal ambition.”
Meanwhile, NBC News reports No Labels has “made overtures to Christie through donors and allies,” some of which were “in recent weeks.”
And the same day Christie left the GOP primary field, a group led by two Republican strategists and one Democratic strategist announced the launch of New Leaders 2024, a super PAC focused on supporting a No Labels’ Unity Ticket. According to a New York Times report, the group has secured $2 million in initial commitments and expects to raise at least $300 million should a viable ticket emerge from No Labels.
Christie, however, previously told NHournal he has “always said no” regarding a third-party candidacy. And shortly after Christie announced the suspension of his presidential campaign, campaign manager Maria Comella told NBC News, “Neither the governor nor anyone on the campaign has had conversations with No Labels” but stressed that Christie made it clear in his remarks he’s “not going away.”
And Puck’s Tara Palmeri reports, “Christie’s political advisers and top donors have spoken to No Labels leaders although Christie, himself, has not spoken to the third-party group.”
Another new development for No Labels involves one of its leaders, former Maryland GOP Gov. Larry Hogan, stepping down from his co-chair post. Hogan’s move has raised speculation that he’s signaling for a third-party run.
In a recent interview with a West Virginia radio station, Manchin tip-toed around the possibility of a Unity Ticket run.
“Am I thinking about running? I’m thinking about how I can converse with the people throughout America and give them some options,” Manchin said. “To the point that they should be pushing their political leaders to come back to the sensible, reasonable middle.
“There’s an awful lot of people who have been in the process, and they feel like they are homeless. They don’t feel like they have a home, and they feel hopeless in the political system we have.”
Manchin, a Democrat who has frequently locked horns with other members of his party, announced in November he isn’t seeking reelection.
“You have the business of the Democrat and the business of the Republican entity, and the business model is doing well for them,” Manchin said. “There’s more money coming into the political system than ever before. It’s just not giving the people much of a choice.”
In New Hampshire, some longtime supporters of Christie are skeptical that he would run as a third-party candidate.
“I’ve never discussed the idea of Gov. Christie running on a third-party ticket with him,” said Rep. Wayne MacDonald (R-Londonderry), who’s been backing Christie for president since his 2016 run. “However, he called it a ‘fool’s errand’ at one of the town halls.
“I don’t know if he still feels that way, but I know he has been a good and loyal Republican for many years.”