UNITED STATES NEWS

Judge says No Labels can block candidates from running for offices other than president in Arizona

Jan 16, 2024, 7:00 PM

No Labels can block Arizona candidates, judge says...

A worker walks back stage after Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis finished speaking to supporters during a caucus night party, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, in West Des Moines, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

PHOENIX (AP) — No Labels, the group preparing for a possible third-party presidential campaign, can prohibit members from using its ballot line to run for office in Arizona, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

The decision protects the group’s efforts to maintain control and secrecy around its operations and finances as Donald Trump critics warn that No Labels could help return Trump to the White House by siphoning voters who might otherwise vote for the former president.

A judge blocked Arizona Secretary of State Adrian Fontes from recognizing candidates wanting to run for office under the No Labels banner aside from the party’s yet-to-be-chosen ticket for president and vice president.

Fontes, a Democrat, called the ruling “dead wrong” and vowed to appeal. He warned that the ruling could keep the nearly 19,000 No Labels party members from voting in a primary, and the precedent could allow party bosses to decide who can run for office from any party.

“This current decision will disenfranchise almost 19,000 registered Arizona voters, and if it stands, it could potentially derail the entire candidate nomination process,” Fontes said in a statement.

No Labels officials said the ruling “strongly vindicates our constitutional rights.”

“Our ballot line cannot be hijacked. Our movement will not be stopped,” Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr., a No Labels national co-chair, and former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, the group’s director of ballot integrity, said in a statement.

Why some are wary of No Labels group

No Labels has drawn increasing scrutiny as it spends tens of millions of dollars to secure ballot access in all 50 states by Election Day. The group’s critics have pushed for transparency around its donors, whom No Labels leaders have refused to name, and had hoped that state campaign finance laws could help pry information loose.

But the Arizona ruling could support the No Labels argument that it doesn’t have to file campaign finance disclosures under Arizona law because it is not supporting any candidates for state office.

Arizona, likely to be among the closest battlegrounds in November, is among 13 states where No Labels has already secured its place on the ballot. President Joe Biden won the state by fewer than 11,000 votes in 2020 with a coalition that included conservative independents and moderate Republicans, prompting worry among Democrats that a No Labels candidate could tip the state to Trump even with a tiny showing in a state with more than 3 million voters.

Judge John Tuchi, a Barack Obama appointee, ruled that No Labels has a First Amendment right to determine whom it wants to associate with.

Fontes had argued that he’s obligated to accept filings from candidates even if party leaders reject them. Tuchi agreed, but said that requirement was trumped by the need to protect No Labels’ constitutional rights.

Richard Grayson, one of five No Labels members who have filed to run for office in Arizona, said he was hopeful appellate courts would see the issue differently. Trump, the clear leader of the Republican Party, can’t tell candidates he doesn’t like that they can’t run for state Legislature, he said.

“There’s a lot of people in the various parties that the parties don’t want them to run, and that’s always been true,” Grayson said Tuesday.

Grayson, who likens his perennial losing campaigns to performance art, is a No Labels critic who thinks the party should disclose its donors. He changed his party affiliation to draw attention to what he views as a top-down operation that’s doomed to failure.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

United States News

FILE - Bishop Lamor Miller-Whitehead speaks with the media, May 24, 2022, in New York. The Brooklyn...

Associated Press

Brooklyn preacher goes on trial for fraud charges prosecutors say fueled lavish lifestyle

NEW YORK (AP) — A Brooklyn preacher with ties to New York City Mayor Eric Adams is set to go on trial Monday in Manhattan federal court over charges that he looted a parishioner’s retirement savings and tried to extort a businessman to fuel his lavish lifestyle. Lamor Miller-Whitehead, 47, a Rolls Royce-driving bishop, faces […]

4 hours ago

FILE - Alexander Smirnov, second from right, leaves the courthouse on Feb. 20, 2024, in Las Vegas. ...

Associated Press

Ex-FBI informant charged with lying about Bidens will appear in court as judge weighs his detention

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former FBI informant charged with fabricating a multimillion-dollar bribery scheme involving President Joe Biden’s family is set to appear in a California federal court on Monday as a judge considers whether he must remain behind bars while he awaits trial. Special counsel David Weiss’ office is pressing U.S. District Judge […]

4 hours ago

Rock Creek Forest Elementary School students exit a diesel bus before attending school, Friday, Feb...

Associated Press

Demand for electric school buses finally starts to make headway

Electric school buses have been driving in California for nearly a decade but the demand for more across the country has been increasing.

7 hours ago

leap day...

Associated Press

How did leap day begin and why? A look by the numbers

How did leap year begin and why? A look at some of the numbers, history and lore behind the (not quite) every four-year phenom.

9 hours ago

Associated Press

AT&T will give $5 to customers hit by cellphone network outage

DALLAS (AP) — AT&T says it will give affected customers $5 each to compensate for last week’s cellphone network outage that left many without service for hours. The Dallas-based company said on its website that customers will get the $5 credit on their account within two billing cycles. The credit does not apply to AT&T […]

9 hours ago

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House, Feb. 23, 2024, in Washington...

Associated Press

Biden is summoning congressional leaders to the White House to talk Ukraine and government funding

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will convene the top four congressional leaders at the White House on Tuesday to press lawmakers on passing an emergency aid package for Ukraine and Israel, as well as averting a looming government shutdown next month, according to a White House official. The top four leaders include House Speaker […]

10 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

...

Sanderson Ford

The best ways to honor our heroes on Veterans Day and give back to the community

Veterans Day is fast approaching and there's no better way to support our veterans than to donate to the Military Assistance Mission.

...

Canvas Annuity

Interest rates may have peaked. Should you buy a CD, high-yield savings account, or a fixed annuity?

Interest rates are the highest they’ve been in decades, and it looks like the Fed has paused hikes. This may be the best time to lock in rates for long-term, low-risk financial products like fixed annuities.

Judge says No Labels can block candidates from running for offices other than president in Arizona