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Christie Flirts With ‘No Labels’ Run As Group Imagines Throwing Race Into US House

Christie Flirts With ‘No Labels’ Run As Group Imagines Throwing Race Into US House

Just when conservative Republicans thought they’d scraped Chris Christie off their collective shoe, the literal but not figurative GOP heavyweight is now teasing that he’s open to running for president this year on the “No Labels” ballot line.

At the same time, that group’s leadership this week discussed a scenario in which No Labels forces the House of Representatives to choose the new president — by denying Trump and Biden the required 270 electoral votes

Founded in 2010, No Labels bills itself as a “national movement of commonsense Americans pushing our leaders together to solve our country’s biggest problems.” It’s not a political party, but is instead configured as a 401(c)(4) social welfare organization. 

In 2021, No Labels launched an ambitious project to secure ballot access so it would be positioned to platform a bipartisan ticket in the 2024 election. This year, the group’s president made clear she wants a Republican to lead the ticket. That’s consistent with comments by No Labels leader and former Sen. Joe Lieberman indicating most of the group’s members want to err on the side of precluding a Trump re-election

Last July, Christie pointedly brushed aside the idea of a No Labels run: 

Referring to third party bids in general, he added, “You never quite know who you’re going to hurt in that process.” However, appearing on David Axelrod’s podcast his week, Christie said:

“You know, I think the way I would look at it is…I will do whatever I can to try to make sure that the country doesn’t go through what I think will be the misery of a second Trump term… I wouldn’t preclude anything at this point. I would just say that there are a number of hurdles to get over before I would actually consider running as a third-party.”

When it comes to making demands, Christie should have plenty of leverage over No Labels. The group’s quest to conjure a ticket is growing increasingly desperate. A long list of prospects have rejected the idea of running via No Labels, including former designated hand-raiser ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, former Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, former CIA Director David Petraeus, former Special Operations Command commander William McRaven and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.  

The group’s desperation is driven by looming state deadlines for submitting signatures to qualify for ballot access. Some states require the candidates’ names earlier than others. So far, No Labels has secured a spot on the ballot line in 18 states including Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and North Carolina.  

“April 15 is kind of [No Labels’] drop-dead date,” No Labels co-founder and former Virginia congressman Tom Davis tells the New York Times. “To be credible, you want to be on the ballot in every state. Although, you know, Lincoln wasn’t on the ballot in 10 states, and he won.”

Speaking of long-shot scenarios, on a conference call this week, Davis helped members visualize a scenario where a No Labels ticket picks off enough states to prevent either Biden or Trump from reaching 270 electoral votes. He tells the Times he addressed the topic in response to concerns among the group’s members. 

If that so-called “contingent election” takes place, the incoming House of Representatives would pick the president and the Senate picks the vice president. The House votes not as individuals, but by state delegation, which could give an edge to the Republican presidential candidate.   

Even aside from that scenario, many Democrats have been seething at No Labels — panicked that a centrist No Labels ticket might pick off just enough Biden votes to deliver the Oval Office to Trump.  

Asked about the group’s discussion of a contingent-election scenario, leftists frothed at the mouth. Matt Bennett, co-founder of the Democratic group Third Way, told the Times:

“It’s impossible to overstate how chaotic and dangerous it would be for a party in this election to intentionally try to cause a contingent election that would result in enormous confusion and perhaps political violence.”  

UPenn Law professor William Ewald told the Times a contingent election would be a “mind-boggling disaster,” adding, “In an election in the present political climate, whoever won, there would be people rioting in the streets, and not figuratively.” 

Isn’t is great how some people are free to raise the specter of violence without having Big Media present it as a veiled threat on their part? That’s quite a contrast to last week’s spectacular “bloodbath” quote-hoax that targeted Trump.  


Fri, 03/22/2024 – 11:40

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