by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
In yet another sign that mainstream Democrats fear that third-party candidates will throw the election to former president Donald Trump in November, the pro–Joe Biden group Citizens to Save Our Republic urged third-party candidates on Tuesday to sign a pledge that they will withdraw their names from six swing-state ballots by the summer if they don’t meet certain polling and ballot-qualification criteria by July 1.
CSOR’s monthslong pressure campaign comes as the president contines to poll evenly or below Trump, the GOP’s likely 2024 presidential nominee, in most head-to-head matchups less than a year out from Election Day. Tuesday’s pledge appeared to take special aim at independent candidate Cornel West, Green Party candidate Jill Stein, Democrat-turned-independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr., and, of course, No Labels, the nonprofit advocacy group that has spent millions on ballot-access efforts to potentially name a centrist third-party ticket in 2024.
“Signing this pledge does not cause anyone to abandon their campaign. They can continue their campaign in all states except the swing states and get their message out to the American people,” Citizens to Save Our Republican co-founder Dick Gephardt, the former Democratic House minority leader, said on a call with reporters on Tuesday. He added that the group is uniformly concerned that third-party candidates “will help elect Donald Trump and cause American democracy to cease.”
CSOR has yet to throw real money behind its effort, raising just over $200,000 since the summer and ending 2023 with roughly $26,000 on hand. The group launched a small $100,000 ad buy in Washington, D.C.’s media market in December characterizing all third-party presidential candidates in 2024 as spoilers for Trump, and it has released polling to the same effect. A spokesman for the group told NR on Tuesday that CSOR has no firm plans on additional advertising beyond that December ad buy.