No Labels, a political group that encourages political parties to work together on solutions, has gathered the 10,000 signatures needed to secure a spot on Maryland presidential ballots, state election officials announced Wednesday.

No Labels was formed more than a decade ago and until last month was co-chaired by former Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. The group argues — and independent polling supports — that Americans don’t like the choice between the two front-runners for major party presidential nominations: Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Donald Trump. No Labels says their presidential ticket could provide a choice.

They’re seeking to appear on presidential ballots in as many states as possible in 2024.

Here’s what to know about No Labels’ effort:

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Who is running on the No Labels ticket?

We don’t know yet.

“We are preparing for the possibility of offering our ballot line to a ticket. We have not committed to do so,” the group says on their website.

Details about that process have been murky, however, and the group has repeatedly failed to meet its own goals for announcing plans. It cancelled its convention scheduled for April in Dallas in favor of a virtual meeting.

Hogan has repeatedly teased the possibility that he could be a candidate. “It’s not something I’m pursuing, but it’s — you’ve got to leave the door open. In case of emergency, break glass,” Hogan said in a CBS news interview last summer.

And Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, and Republican senators Susan Collins of Maine and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana have supported the group.

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One determining factor in whether the third party would offer a presidential ticket is if they would have a chance at winning. Democratic critics of No Labels have argued they would siphon votes away from the two major parties, but in a very narrowly divided electorate that would hurt Democrats’ chances more than Republicans.

In how many states is No Labels on the ballot?

The group is already on the ballot in 13 states, including competitive states like Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Nevada and North Carolina. The group is not quite on the ballot yet in Maryland — they still have some paperwork to take care of — but state election officials said gathering the signatures is the most difficult part of the process.

No Labels is working to get on the ballot in 13 other states, according to their website.

Who funds No Labels?

The group is not required to disclose its donors.

But media outlets have revealed some of the group’s donors. The New Republic reported that real estate tycoon Harlan Crow, a prolific Republican donor, had given to the group. Mother Jones named billionaire businessman Michael Smith, investors Tom McInerney and Peter Resnick, and real estate developer Allan Keen. Many No Labels donors have given to Democrats and Republicans, the magazine reported.

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In 2018, The Daily Beast reported that the group’s donors included the biggest names in finance.

No Labels says efforts to expose its donors are an intimidation campaign.

“We have thousands of individual donors from across the country and across the political spectrum,” the group wrote on its website. “No Labels does not accept money from Washington special interests. But we never release the names of our supporters because it is essential to protect their privacy.”

What would another party mean for Maryland elections?

While national elections are close enough that almost any party can make a difference, third parties have had little impact in Maryland.

No third party has garnered more than 3% of the vote in any of the last three presidential or gubernatorial elections. The Libertarian Party ticket of former governors Gary Johnson and Bill Weld earned 2.86% of the vote in Maryland’s 2016 presidential election — the high-water mark for any third-party candidate in recent years.

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Third parties have even had trouble maintaining their official status in Maryland, which requires 1% support in the previous presidential or gubernatorial election or 1% of registered voters. The Green Party and Working Class parties lost their recognition after the 2022 elections. The socialist Bread and Roses Party lost its recognition after the 2020 election and disbanded the following year.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

John edits political coverage for The Baltimore Banner. Previously he's covered Washington, D.C. for WNYC public radio and politics and education in Maryland, South Carolina and Florida. 

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