Democrats are growing increasingly concerned about the buzz around a high-profile third-party candidate running for president in 2024 – worried it could hamper President Biden’s re-election hopes.
No Labels, a bipartisan group, is ratcheting up its push to stand up a “unity ticket,” according to a report in The New York Times that said Sen. Joseph Manchin III, West Virginia Democrat, is being eyed as a top recruit.
For Democrats, the fear is a third-party contender could peel voters away from Mr. Biden, hurting his re-election chances, and pave the way for former President Donald Trump or another Republican to flip control of The White House.
The Times reported the group recently met in New York as part of its ongoing effort to raise the $70 million it believes it needs to meet ballot access requirements across the country.
Nancy Jacobson, the co-founder and leader of No Labels, told the Times they will make a final decision on whether or not to nominate a third party ticket next year after the numerous primaries traditionally fall on Super Tuesday.
Mr. Manchin is among the most vulnerable Senators up for re-election in the 2024 election. Mr. Trump carried the state by 39 points over Mr. Biden in 2020.
Mr. Manchin’s re-election prospects dimmed last month after Gov. Jim Justice announced he was running for the Republican nomination. Rep. Alex Mooney is also running for the GOP nod.
Mr. Manchin, meanwhile, is keeping his cards close to the vest, saying he will not make a decision on whether he plans to seek re-election, or run for president until December.
The Times reported that some of the other names bandied around as possibilities on a third-party “unity ticket” include Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who changed her party affiliation late last year from Democrat to independent, and former Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, a Republican who passed on running for the GOP presidential nomination.
“We’re not looking to pick the ticket right now,” former Rep. Fred Upton, Michigan Republican, said in an interview with The Times. “Our focus is getting on the ballot.”
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