No Labels' 2024 third-party candidate search is hampered by Joe Lieberman's death.

New York — When No Labels' critics raged, Joe Lieberman defended them. Former Connecticut senator was founding chairman of centrist organization that promoted national bipartisanship. Despite its benign purpose, No Labels incited many in politics by recruiting a third-party presidential candidate who some worry could help Donald Trump win the 2024 election.

Lieberman was the group's public defender at most critical turns. He worked privately on No Labels' presidential recruiting. He consistently stated in interviews, including last week, that the nation wants an alternative to Trump and Biden.

Lieberman told Bloomberg Television last Thursday, “This is the moment for a bipartisan unity ticket.” We must develop a solid bipartisan ticket to recommend to No Labels delegates in the coming weeks. That's difficult.” No Labels loses Lieberman irreplaceably and gains ambiguity about its 2024 goals.

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who previously competed for the GOP nomination, announced his withdrawal from No Labels' presidential ticket hours before his death. The group has been on presidential ballots in over a dozen states despite a series of high-profile denials.

No Labels had already been rejected by both party presidential candidates, including Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, and Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp. New critics urged No Labels to abandon its 2024 aspirations on Thursday.

I'm not sure what else the No Labels mob needs to hear. Every sensible person who looks at this gambit sees they'll help elect Trump," Republican Voters Against Trump founder Sarah Longwell said on X. «Time for No Labels and its donors to quit»

No Labels' leadership did not discuss 2024 intentions on Thursday after Lieberman's death. His funeral was Friday. However, additional revelations emerged about the group's difficulty to recruit strong presidential contenders. Lieberman directly engaged in candidate recruitment conversations. He attended introductory Zoom conversations and kept in touch with Christie and other top prospects.

The former New Jersey governor's team considered a No Labels bid. According to a Christie confidant, his advisers polled, modeled, and investigated fundraising issues. Christie rejected No Labels' ticket despite the organization's claims.

“While I believe this is a conversation that needs to be had with the American people, I also believe that if there is no pathway to win and if my candidacy in any way, shape, or form would help Donald Trump become president again, then it is not the way forward,” Christie said Wednesday. New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu, another prominent Republican Trump critic, also communicated with No Labels in recent months. Sununu, who briefly pondered a Republican White House bid, will not run again this fall.

No Labels regularly contacted Sununu and stated that he was one of their top selections based on focus group data, according to a Sununu adviser who requested anonymity. The adviser said Sununu repeatedly told No Labels advisers he wasn't interested. New Hampshire governor Sununu declined No Labels' offer again in early March.

Before Lieberman's death, the group said it had Wyoming ballot access on Wednesday. No Labels claims presidential qualification in 19 states, including swing states Arizona and Nevada. That's more than third-party candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has agreed to, but it's far from the number of states needed to win the presidency.

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