Prospect of third-party White House bid stirs Democrat fears

Democrats are increasingly concerned about the buzz around a high-profile third-party candidate running for president in 2024 – fearing it could hamper President Biden’s re-election hopes.

No Labels, a bipartisan group, is stepping up efforts to present a “unity ticket,” according to a New York Times report that Sen. Joseph Manchin III, Democrat of West Virginia, is seen as a top recruit.

For Democrats, the fear is that a third-party candidate could alienate voters from Mr. Biden, hurting his re-election chances, and paving the way for former President Donald Trump or another Republican to overthrow control of the White House.

The Times reported that the group recently met in New York as part of its ongoing efforts to raise the $70 million it believes it needs to meet ballot access requirements nationwide.

Nancy Jacobson, co-founder and leader of No Labels, told The Times they would make a final decision on whether or not to nominate a third-party ticket next year after numerous primaries traditionally falling on Super Tuesday.

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Mr. Manchin is among the most vulnerable senators awaiting re-election in the 2024 election. Mr. Trump carried the state 39 points over Mr. Biden in 2020.

Mr Manchin’s re-election prospects dimmed last month after Governor Jim Justice announced he was running for the Republican nomination. Representative Alex Mooney is also up for the GOP nod.

Mr Manchin, meanwhile, is keeping his cards close to his waistcoat, saying he will not decide whether he plans to seek re-election or run for president until December.

The Times reported that some of the other names mooted as possibilities on a third-party “unity ticket” include Senator Kyrsten Sinema, who changed her party affiliation late last year from Democrat to Independent, and former Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland, a Republican who died running for the GOP presidential nomination.

“We’re not looking to pick the ticket at this time,” former Rep. Fred Upton, Republican of Michigan, said in an interview with The Times. “Our goal is to focus on the ballot.”

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