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Kathryn Carley, Producer
Monday, July 17, 2023
The national political spotlight falls on New Hampshire tonight as the controversial group No Labels holds its first major public event in Manchester.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and former Gov. John Huntsman, R-Utah, will headline the town hall event and are considered the most likely candidates for what No Labels calls a “unity” ticket in the 2024 presidential race.
Joe Cunningham, national director of the group No Labels former Democratic representative from South Carolina, said his group aims to highlight the bipartisanship America so desperately needs.
“We all have empty chairs where family members used to sit for Thanksgiving but don’t come over any more, because of fear of politics coming up as a discussion,” Cunningham pointed out. “We’re better than this.”
Cunningham noted No Labels will not fund a presidential campaign, but will only work to secure ballot access for an alternative candidate in all 50 states. It has already secured four, including Alaska, Arizona, Colorado and Oregon. It is also causing concern among Democrats, who say a No Labels candidate will draw votes away from President Biden in what is expected to be a very close presidential race.
No Labels began more than a decade ago in what Cunningham called an effort to “bridge the partisan divide” through the Congressional Problem Solvers Caucus. He emphasized his group should not be considered a “spoiler,” but rather an “insurance policy.”
“We’re creating this ’emergency exit’ for the voters, for this country,” Cunningham argued. “In case the majority of Americans want a better option.”
Cunningham stressed it is still possible for Americans and their political candidates to find common ground on such issues as reproductive rights or student debt cancellation, but there needs to be a lot more listening and less political rhetoric.