No Labels’ third-party bulletin could collapse if candidates aren’t ‘top-notch’, says Joe Lieberman

No Labels founder Joe Lieberman is open to scrapping his bipartisanthird-party presidential ticket if the political nonprofit group can’t identify the right candidates within the next few months.

No Labels has so far secured ballot access in 12 states for its potential “Unity Ticket,” which would include a Democrat and a Republican to try to heal partisan fractures in Washington.

“We’re only going to do this if it’s constructive and we can make a real difference in our government and our politics,” Lieberman said Tuesday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “And secondly, if we can get top candidates.”

If not, the team would abandon the effort.

“We’re going to have to make a tough decision in a couple of months,” added the former Connecticut senator.

No Labels are in the early stages of formalizing their candidate exploratory committee, which will aim to come up with names in March or April if they decide to go ahead with the Unity Ticket.

Names such as Sen. Joe Manchin and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan have been floated as options for the ticket. Eyes have been particularly focused on Manchin because of his announcement that he will not seek re-election to his Senate seat and separate comments about a possible run for president.

However, No Labels has yet to officially nominate candidates, in part because the people it contacted didn’t immediately sign on.

“Individually, we’re starting to reach out to people who we think might be great candidates and ask them if they’re interested, and right now nobody’s saying, ‘No,’ but nobody’s saying, ‘Yes, I’m ready to declare,'” Lieberman said.

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Despite the obscurity of the Unity Ticket, No Labels is amassing a base of wealthy donors, doubling its revenue last year compared to 2021. Its non-profit status means it is not required to disclose its donors and there is no contribution limit. It also means that No Labels cannot contribute directly to a political campaign.

“Just let me assure everybody that all we can do at No Labels is get on the ballot,” Lieberman said.

The group’s affiliated Super PAC can contribute to campaigns.

No Labels has faced heat from Democrats over its third-party ticket experiment, which could derail President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign without any certainty that the Unity Ticket could also defeat Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

Lieberman tried to allay those fears in October op-ed in the Wall Street Journal headlined “No Label Will Help Trump.” He said polls showed a No Labels ticket would attract voters equally from both parties.

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