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No Labels Party qualifies to run candidates in Oregon elections

A ballot box on Tuesday, May 19.
Amanda Loman
Salem Reporter
A ballot box on Tuesday, May 19.

A centrist political group that Democrats fear could spoil President Joe Biden’s re-election is now a recognized Oregon political party.

The No Labels Party of Oregon gathered enough petition signatures to be recognized as a minor political party, the Elections Division of the Oregon Secretary of State’s office announced Friday. That means that the new party can nominate candidates for any federal, state or county offices in future elections, and Oregonians can register with it.

The group, started in 2010 by major Democratic fundraiser Nancy Jacobson, has spent the past several months trying to earn a spot for a centrist third-party candidate on presidential ballots in all 50 states ahead of the 2024 election. So far, it has succeeded in Colorado, Arizona and Oregon.

Nick Connors, a former Connecticut Republican candidate for U.S. Senate listed as the Oregon party’s organizer on paperwork filed with the secretary of state, didn’t return a call for comment.

The No Labels Party is Oregon’s seventh minor party, joining the Constitution Party, Independent Party of Oregon, Libertarian Party, Pacific Green Party, Progressive Party and Working Families Party. The Democratic and Republican parties are recognized as major parties, meaning its candidates appear on state-funded primary ballots.

Minor political parties can be recognized in Oregon if they gather 29,294 valid signatures from voters within a year. There are several pending petitions for political parties, including one for the “Love Party” and one called “Jacob and his followers” filed by a Jacob Dougherty.

In Arizona, where the No Labels Party qualified for the ballot on Tuesday, Democrats and Republicans who opposed Donald Trump worried that the new party could tip the scales in favor of Trump or a Trump-like candidate in the 2024 presidential election or play spoiler in a potential three-way Senate race. President Joe Biden won the southwestern state by less than 1 percentage point in 2020.

The Oregon Capital Chronicle is a professional, nonprofit news organization. We are an affiliate of States Newsroom, a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit supported by grants and a coalition of donors and readers. The Capital Chronicle retains full editorial independence, meaning decisions about news and coverage are made by Oregonians for Oregonians.

Julia Shumway has reported on government and politics in Iowa and Nebraska, spent time at the Bend Bulletin and was a legislative reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times in Phoenix. Julia is an award-winning journalist who reported on the tangled efforts to audit the 2020 presidential election results in Arizona.