No Labels Party Argues For Federal Injunction Against SOS Fontes

Corinne Murdock
4 Min Read


By Corinne Murdock |

The No Labels Party argued for a federal injunction against Secretary of State Adrian Fontes in a court hearing on Friday. 

Arizona District Court Judge John Tuchi heard Friday’s arguments from the party, which seeks to stop Fontes from putting non-presidential candidates under its label on this year’s primary and general election ballots.

The No Labels Party of Arizona, in a Thursday filing preceding the hearing, declared that their party was established for the purpose of placing only presidential and vice-presidential nominees on the 2024 general election ballot. The party cited its constitution and bylaws, which declared that the party would nominate only presidential and vice-presidential candidates, and no candidates for any state, county, municipal, school, or district office or position. 

“No Labels Arizona asserts, and for the purposes of this litigation the Secretary does not contest, that No Labels Arizona’s only current objective is to ensure that Arizonans have a potential presidential candidate option other than the candidates who may be selected at the 2024 Democratic and Republican National Conventions,” stated the filing. 

Fontes said in a letter to the party last September that any candidates of a valid political party had a right to participate in the primary election and determine that party’s nominee.

There are five individuals who filed interest to run under the No Labels Arizona banner, none of which relate to the presidency: Tyson Draper for Senate; Richard Grayson for the Arizona Corporation Commission; Omar Farooq Chaudry for Congress in the fifth district; Michael Bishop for state representative in the fifth district; and Sam Huang for state representative in the twelfth district.

As of October — the latest update offered by the secretary of state — there were just under 19,000 registered No Labels voters. There were over 1.45 million independent voters, over 1.44 million Republican voters, over 1.2 million Democratic voters, and over 33,700 Libertarian voters. 

In their complaint, filed last October, the No Labels Party of Arizona argued that they reserved the right to deny nominations of candidates to the ballot based on state law and the Constitution. 

No Labels Arizona state committee members include Gail Koshland Wachtel, a former University of Arizona professor who has donated over $242,000 exclusively to Democratic candidates, campaigns, and organizations over the last decade; Joel (Joe) Smyth, the former longtime board chair of Independent Newsmedia, with outlets across Arizona including Daily Independent, as well as outlets in Delaware, Florida, and Maryland; and Sentari Minor, vice president of strategy for evolvedMD. 

Koshland Wachtel also served as the president and director of the Koshland Foundation, a California-based grantmaking nonprofit largely focused on reforming Oakland, California schools which boasted over $2.7 million in revenue and over $11 million in assets in 2022. 

No Labels Arizona has yet to receive or submit any campaign contributions, and noted in its communications with Fontes that it doesn’t plan to do so in the future. Its national affiliate, based in D.C., was established in 2009.

The party has ballot access in 13 states as of Friday: Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Mississippi, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, South Dakota, and Utah, in addition to Arizona. 

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].




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2024-01-06 07:48:00 , AZ FREE NEWS

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