by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The self-styled centrist group No Labels has no shortage of haters fretting that its bold pledge to spend $70 million on a third-party presidential bid in 2024 will throw the election to former president Donald Trump if, in fact, he is the Republican nominee. Democrats are damning the group in the New York Times. Behind the scenes, President Joe Biden and company are begging them to sit on the sidelines.
But how much money has the group actually raised to fund its effort to get on the ballot? It’s hard to say. No Labels won’t say how large its staff is, so, in the face of several resignations last year — a POLITICO report put the number at at least 11 out of a staff of 20, while its website lists just three staff members — it is difficult to know whether the group has the manpower to shake up the two-party system.
Several news reports have indicated the group is in the midst of a $70 million fundraising haul. That figure has a single source, a September 2022 New York Times column by David Brooks, who wrote then that the “No Labels operation is a $70 million effort, of which $46 million has already been raised or pledged.” Brooks has since reneged on his enthusiasm for a third-party bid, writing earlier this month that “this is not the right election to carry out their strategy.” He nonetheless repeated that No Labels is a “$70 million effort.”
It’s possible that No Labels has seen a fundraising surge in the last two years, but publicly available evidence suggests otherwise. The group controlled just $10 million at the end of 2021, according to tax documents.