The Arizona Democratic Party filed a lawsuit on Thursday aiming to knock the No Labels Party off the ballot in the state amid ongoing Democratic fears the well-funded, business-friendly centrist group could play a spoiler role in the 2024 presidential election.
The lawsuit argues No Labels is failing to comply with the requirements for a political party, including disclosing donors and registering with the Federal Election Commission. The group is registered as a nonprofit and does not disclose its donors, though it has said it has raised $45 million for its 2024 efforts.
Democrats across the ideological spectrum have said No Labels’ purportedly moderate ticket could pose a direct threat to President Joe Biden’s expected reelection bid by drawing a small but significant number of voters away from the president. The group promotes bipartisan cooperation, but its actual ideology is vague to nonexistent.
Arizona Democratic Party Executive Director Morgan Dick said No Labels’ lack of disclosure was troubling and grounds for losing its ballot access.
“No Labels is not following the rules for political party recognition, while attempting to be placed on the ballot alongside actual, functioning political parties who do,” Dick said. “That is why the Arizona Democratic Party is filing a lawsuit challenging their political party recognition. Arizonans deserve better and voters deserve to know who is behind this shadowy organization and what potentially nefarious agenda they are pushing.”
No Labels strategist Ryan Clancy reacted harshly to the lawsuit, accusing the state Democratic Party of trying to disqualify a competitor.
“This undemocratic and unscrupulous lawsuit is a disgrace,” he said in a statement. “Next time you hear this crowd talking about protecting democracy, remember what they are really doing is protecting their turf.”
The Washington Post first reported the lawsuit, which also alleges the group violated state law by allowing the party’s proposed electors to sign affidavits before No Labels gathered all of the signatures necessary to qualify for the ballot.
Adrian Fontes, Arizona’s Democratic secretary of state, approved the No Labels Party earlier this month. The group also has qualified for the ballot in Colorado, Oregon and Alaska.
No Labels insists 2024 is a potential breakthrough year for a third-party, moderate candidate, even though past efforts have fizzled and no third-party candidate has won a state on the presidential level for decades. The group’s proposed path to 270 electoral votes involves winning mostly states won by Biden four years ago.
The group’s presence in Arizona has an added dimension. Democrats in the state believe Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.) could opt to run on the No Labels ballot line if she seeks reelection to the Senate. Doing so would drastically reduce the number of signatures she needs to qualify for the ballot.
Sinema, who does not typically answer questions from reporters at the Capitol, ignored a question from HuffPost on Thursday about whether she would join the No Labels Party.
Igor Bobic contributed reporting.