Geoff Duncan passes on No Labels presidential bid

Former Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday that he will not launch a third-party presidential bid with the No Labels movement. (Arvin Temkar /

Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

Credit: Arvin Temkar/AJC

Former Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday that he will not launch a third-party presidential bid with the No Labels movement. (Arvin Temkar /

Former Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he won’t launch a third-party presidential bid with the No Labels movement, ending speculation that the Republican could mount a campaign with the well-funded organization.

“It was an honor to be approached, and I am grateful to all those who are engaged in good-faith efforts to offer Americans a better choice than the Trump vs. Biden rematch,” Duncan said in a statement Monday.

He added that he wants to work toward “healing and improving the Republican Party with a GOP 2.0 so we can elect more commonsense conservative candidates in the future.”

Duncan had been in contact with No Labels leaders to serve on a “unity” bipartisan ticket designed to offer voters an alternative to President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, who each secured enough delegates last week to clinch their parties’ nominations.

With polls showing many voters dreading a 2020 rematch, No Labels hoped to leverage the dynamic with contenders who appeal to middle-of-the-road voters. Duncan now becomes the latest in a string of prominent politicians to turn down a chance to run on the party’s ticket.

Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said she wouldn’t wage a third-party bid after quitting the GOP race earlier this month, and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate West Virginia Democrat, said he won’t run for president. Former Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican with ties to No Labels, is instead running for a U.S. Senate seat.

Though not as nationally known as the other figures, Duncan was seen by supporters as a candidate who could appeal to swing voters in battleground states such as Georgia and met several times with No Labels representatives before withdrawing his name.

A former professional baseball player, Duncan served three terms in the Georgia House from Forsyth County before winning the state’s No. 2 job. He became a key ally to Gov. Brian Kemp and was one of the first politicians to endorse U.S. Sen. Kelly Loeffler. He also backed Trump early in his tenure.

After winning his campaign to become Georgia's lieutenant governor, Geoff Duncan, right, quickly aligned himself with Republican Gov. Brian Kemp. (Arvin Temkar /


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That changed after the 2020 election, when Trump lost Georgia by fewer than 12,000 votes and engaged in an aggressive campaign to overturn his defeat. Duncan and other state leaders rejected Trump’s appeal for a special legislative session to invalidate Biden’s win, drawing Trump’s wrath. But he went further than most in disputing falsehoods spread about the 2020 election and advocating for the demise of MAGA-era politics.

Duncan has repeatedly warned fellow Republicans they are wasting a “golden opportunity” if they don’t move past the former president. He’s called proposed rollbacks to voting rights “solutions in search of a problem.” He boycotted a state Senate vote on election restrictions. And he refused to endorse two Trump loyalists in 2022: His successor, Lt. Gov. Burt Jones, and U.S. Senate nominee Herschel Walker.

More recently, he was a key witness in the Fulton County election interference trial against Trump and his allies, testifying before a grand jury shortly before District Attorney Fani Willis announced indictments against the former president and 18 co-defendants.

And in an AJC op-ed in January, he derided Republican leaders who “decided the ends justified the means” and backed Trump even though he was “incapable of leading in a respectable or mature way.”

“Until more of us are willing to acknowledge that hard truth, we will be on the outside looking in. Our fate will be similar to some of the most famous baseball sluggers of the 1990s still waiting for their invitation to Cooperstown,” Duncan wrote.

His stance alienated many Republicans who view him as a traitor to the GOP. Chip Lake, a Republican strategist who briefly served as Duncan’s top aide, mocked his former ally on Monday for flirting with a presidential bid.

“When Geoff realized that No Labels vetting was going deeper than just his minor league career, he jumped and pulled the parachute,” Lake said. “This is probably best for both sides.”

Had he entered the presidential race, the extent of Duncan’s national appeal was unclear, though he’s tried to build a broader profile since leaving office in 2023 as a CNN commentator and a contributing columnist to the AJC.

No Labels didn’t immediately comment on Duncan’s decision, which came days after the organization’s delegates voted to take steps to field a candidate. Last week, the group — which has built a considerable cash stockpile but refuses to disclose its donors — unveiled a 12-person selection committee to help vet possible 2024 contenders.

The group has also built a considerable cash stockpile from donors it has refused to disclose.

The group is already on the ballot in 17 states, including several of the nation’s most competitive battlegrounds. Georgia isn’t among them, though the group has said it is one of its key targets.