The No Labels Party was certified as an official political party in Arizona and will be included in the federal and statewide races in the 2024 election, but an ASU professor says it could hurt Democrats' chances.
Secretary of State Adrian Fontes announced on March 8 that the petition to include the No Labels Party on the 2024 ballot had surpassed the 34,127 signatures required.
"The No Labels Party has exceeded the minimum signature requirement and, therefore, qualifies as a new party … in the 2024 Primary and General Elections," Fontes said in a press release. "As Secretary of State, I am committed to supporting county election officials to ensure that they are prepared for this new addition to the state's list of parties."
The new political party is a product of the centrist political coalition No Labels. No Labels does not define themselves as a "third party," but rather a "powerful force capable of countering the influence of the extremes on both sides." They are the fourth recognized political party in the state, along with the Democratic, Republican and Libertarian parties.
According to the No Labels website, their mission is to promote bipartisanship in the Federal legislative branch by working with various politicians on Capitol Hill. No Labels named Sens. Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia, Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine, Bill Cassidy, a Republican from Louisiana, and Arizona's Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema as some of their "bipartisan allies."
Dave Wells, a teaching professor who studies political science, said the No Label Party's inclusion on the 2024 electoral ticket presents potential problems for Democrats in Arizona's unique political landscape.
"The 'never-Trump' Republicans have been very important for the Democrats," Wells said. "The concern is if some of those people start voting for a No Labels candidate, that the Republican candidate will win."
The certification of the No Labels Party in Arizona creates a potential opportunity for Sinema. She was elected as a Democrat in 2018, but switched her party affiliation to independent in Dec. 2022.
"The way the election rules are set up, (Sinema) would have to get a lot of signatures to get on the ballot as an independent in Arizona," Wells said. "The people who 'grassroot' supported her, who were really important for her in 2018, are now completely alienated from her."
Wells said that the No Labels Party may look to nominate Sinema as their candidate, in turn causing a three-way senate race in 2024.
While their "pro-American" messages and the promotion of bipartisanship may be appealing for some voters who feel "politically homeless," the lack of clarity on their stances on some of the highly polarized topics may cause some to lose interest.
Ryne Bolick, a junior studying mechanical engineering, was a registered independent until late 2022 when he switched to the Republican Party. Bolick said he is unhappy with where the Republicans are at, but he felt that it would be better for him to seek change within the party than outside of it.
After researching No Labels and going through their website, Bolick said he was left confused about their positions on some of the issues that are important to him.
“I feel like they're not very organized, I could not find a platform anywhere," Bolick said. "I couldn't find a list of issues they like … I know they're a registered party in Arizona but I don't know much beyond that."
Edited by Shane Brennan, Reagan Priest and Grace Copperthite.