No Labels, No Candidate: Rejections Pile Up as Time Runs Short

No Labels, the group that for months has pledged to run a centrist presidential ticket in the event of a rematch between President Biden and former President Donald J. Trump, is running out of time to recruit a standard-bearer after a string of rejections.

With a number of prominent prospective candidates saying no thanks in recent months, some No Labels members and leaders have grown frustrated with the failure to advance a ticket, according to two people involved with the group and notes provided to The New York Times from a recent video meeting of No Labels delegates.

Still, the group’s leadership continues to hold out hope for November, even as the possibility of outright defeating both Mr. Biden and Mr. Trump seems increasingly remote. Leaders have promoted a far-fetched scenario in which the group could play the role of power broker in the general election if neither major-party candidate reaches an outright majority.

As the group charts a path forward, deadlines to get on state ballots are approaching.

“To be credible, you want to be on the ballot in every state,” former Representative Tom Davis of Virginia, a No Labels co-founder, said in an interview.

“Although,” he added, “you know, Lincoln wasn’t on the ballot in 10 states, and he won.”

For putting together a ticket, Mr. Davis said, “April 15 is kind of their drop-dead date.” The April 15 deadline matters because independent candidates for president can begin collecting signatures after that to qualify for the ballot in New York State.

“If you want to be on the ballot in New York, that’s what drives it,” he added.

No Labels is currently on the ballot in 18 states, the group says. Last year, it said it had already raised $60 million to put forward what it called a “unity ticket,” with one Democrat and one Republican. By the fall, the group’s president, Nancy Jacobson, told potential donors and allies that she had committed to choosing a Republican as the No Labels presidential candidate. No such person has emerged.

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