While the primary calendar is on hold until April 13, national news pertaining to the 2024 elections has not slowed down. The Presidential election in particular has had several major developments in the last week.

Of the first notable occurrence, after much speculation, the No Labels movement has officially abandoned a third-party run for the White House this year, a move that is likely to be of more benefit to President Biden’s (D-DE) re-election campaign than it likely will to Donald Trump’s (R-FL) chances of returning to Washington.

Started in 2010 as a response to the nascent Tea Party movement, the No Labels organization sought compromise, bipartisanship, and centrism at a time when high-stakes games of political chicken were only becoming more cutthroat. The 2024 election is currently seeing historic lows of frontrunner candidate favorability, and along with hyper partisan demagoguery and congressional gridlock – prompting the early exits of many GOP Congressmembers on Capitol Hill – the stage seemed more than set for the first formidable third-party candidacy since Ross Perot’s (I-TX) bids in 1992 and 1996.

However, the movement had just one problem: their ideal candidates passed on seeking the nomination one after another. Retiring Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) repeatedly earned the chagrin of Democratic leaders for fraternizing with the organization, increasing speculation that one of the last Senate Blue Dogs would break rank and run as an Independent. Manchin instead chose to not seek re-election to the Senate, giving Republicans a virtually guaranteed lock on flipping the long-elusive Class I Senate seat from West Virginia. The seat has not been held by a Republican since 1959.

The only notable No Labels associate that is intent on making a run for any office this year John Avlon (D-Sag Harbor), a former CNN anchor and former editor-in-chief of The Daily Beast, who is seeking the Democratic nomination to take on Congressman Nick LaLota (R-Amityville) in New York’s First Congressional District. Avlon decided not to run to the tune of No Labels movement and decided to pick a side in the race. He faces 2020 candidate and Stony Brook professor Nancy Goroff (D-Stony Brook) in the primary.

It’s unclear just how much national support a No Labels candidate would have gotten. On paper, most Americans hold the ideals of centrism, bipartisanship, and compromise in high regard, but many are not willing to be the side that gives in on certain issues. Abstract support only goes so far, but a No Labels candidate probably would have benefitted Trump more than Biden, at least as far as current polling implies. Biden’s low approval ratings (mid-to-high 30s, give or take), as well as his underperformance among key demographics – young, Hispanic, and black voters – means he has much more to lose from a strong Independent bid this year.

Biden’s aggregate unfavorability rating – 14.1 points, according to FiveThirtyEight – is also almost five points less than that of Trump’s – 10.2.

Robert F. Kennedy’s (I-MA) Independent bid’s effect on the race doesn’t seem to hold as much weight as it did after he first suspended campaign for the Democratic nomination to run third-party, but it was assumed his rhetoric might have siphoned support from Trump. However, his selection of Nicole Shanahan, a young Silicon Valley attorney who has perennially donated to high-profile Democratic candidates, might make RFK’s presence on the November ballot more neutral.

As far as the Presidential race goes, a new set of polls poses the question of just how far a Trump victory could go.

A recent Emerson College poll of 1,000 registered voters across New Jersey finds Biden up just five points – 46%-39% – against Trump in a head-to-head matchup, and seven points – 41%-36% – over the former president in a five-way race, with RFK, Green Party candidate Jill Stein (G-MA), and People’s Party candidate Cornel West. West is a famous author and social activist whose areas of focus include race, gender, and class struggles in the U.S. He has been affiliated with the Democratic Socialists of America since 1982.

New Jersey has not backed a Republican candidate for President since 1988. Some polls from the Northeast show Trump might have more support than previously considered. Latest polls from Maine put Trump ahead in the polling average by six points, a large margin for a Republican in a state that has not backed the GOP since 1988.

The last Siena College polls for New York were released in February and showed Biden leading Trump by as high as twelve points and as low as nine points, both in head-to-head polling. New York has not backed a Republican since 1984, with no Republican eclipsing 40% of the vote here since George W. Bush in 2004.

Biden’s attempts to court voters under 30 – a demographic among whom he is markedly underperforming – continue as he revisits a student loan forgiveness plan.

Last year, the Supreme Court struck down Biden’s attempt at sweeping loan forgiveness, which would have forgiven up to $10,000 of debt for most borrowers. The new plan is more targeted and built off of existing programs, all to possibly circumvent the scrutiny of the country’s highest court.

Borrowers who now owe more money on their loans than their principal balances would be eligible for up to $20,000 in relief, regardless of income. Borrowers who have owed for more than twenty years, people who took out loans to enroll in “low-value” academic programs – as classified by the federal government – and those who face “financial hardships” are also included in the plan.

Missouri leads a suit against the plan joined by Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, North Dakota, Ohio, and Oklahoma.

“Yet again, the President is unilaterally trying to impose an extraordinarily expensive and controversial policy that he could not get through Congress,” the suit reads.

Speaking of Ohio, a technicality has possibly jeopardized Biden’s chances of appearing on the November ballot, as a state law requires candidate certification by August 7, almost two weeks before the Democratic National Convention. The Republican-controlled legislature would have to create a special exception to the ballot deadline, or the DNC would have to be moved in advance of Ohio’s election business.

Ohio, long considered a quintessential swing state, has raced to the right in the Trump Era. Along with Ohio, Florida, another perennial swing state, appears to have moved off the competitive table almost entirely, as the state Board of Elections announced this week that registered Republicans now outnumber registered Democrats by almost one million voters.

The current breakdown consists of 38.8% registered with the GOP, 32.4% registered with the Democratic Party, and 28.8% registered unaffiliated. Even in an election year, the state Democratic Party continues to lose registered voters, and only eleven of Florida’s sixty-seven counties have majority-Democrat registration.

Finally, in Nebraska, GOP intraparty fighting is ongoing as the state’s legislature aims to transition Nebraska’s electoral vote allocation from the Congressional District method to the winner-take-all method practiced by forty-eight states.

Since 1992, Nebraska has awarded the statewide winner of the popular vote two electoral votes, and one vote for the popular vote winner in each of the state’s Congressional District; Nebraska has three. NE-03 and NE-01 are solidly Republican, while NE-02, containing most of the Omaha area. It’s the state’s only blue-leaning area. The district first backed a Democrat in 2008. Trump won it narrowly in 2016, but Biden won it by six points in 2020.

Maine is the only other state that distributes its electoral votes by the same method. Trump was the first Republican to win the Second District in 2016, capturing it again in 2020, marking the first and only time both states have simultaneously split their electoral votes.

Nebraska is also the only state with a unicameral (one chamber) nonpartisan legislature. Hardline affiliates of the GOP hope to prevent a narrow Biden win by having Omaha’s votes absorbed by the statewide popular vote, one almost guaranteed to go to Trump.


In state election news, Assemblywoman Kimberly Jean-Pierre (D-Wheatley Heights) has announced that she will not seek re-election in the Eleventh Assembly District.

Jean-Pierre first assumed office in 2014, winning each election by no less than 59%. In 2022, she was re-elected by a razor-thin over first-time candidate Christopher Sperber (R-West Babylon), winning by just 247 votes out of over 36,000 cast.

The open seat now sits as a top target for the GOP to flip going into the 2024 elections. The Eleventh District includes Amityville, Lindenhurst, North Amityville, North Lindenhurst, East Farmingdale, Wyandanch, Copiague, Amity Harbor, and parts of Deer Park, Wheatley Heights, West Babylon, and East Massapequa.


Congressman Nick LaLota (R-Amityville) secured $1.5 million for Port Jefferson’s Harbor dredging and wave wall construction projects. The funding for the Town of Brookhaven is provided by the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations Bill. The funding will allow for dredging and structural improvements within the Town of Brookhaven Marina. The Port Jefferson Harbor is kept at a depth of twenty-six to allow for passage from the harbor entrance to Port Jefferson Village. Estimates say that 14,000 cubic yards of sediment must be dredged from the Town Marina and adjacent lands, and 40,000 to 50,000 cubic yards of sediment must be dredged within the larger harbor.

“Infrastructure projects like dredging in Port Jeff Harbor are vital to boosting our waterfront economy and quality of life for Long Island families. I will continue to work with all of my colleagues to continue to put Suffolk County first,” said LaLota.

“The dredging and wave wall construction at Port Jefferson Harbor is a priority, and now that this $1.5 million in funding has been secured, we are ready to move forward,” said Brookhaven Town Supervisor Dan Panico (R-Center Moriches). “While a lot of emphasis and attention has been focused on south shore erosion, it is important to recognize that our north shore has challenges as well. This funding will help us work to meet these challenges and we are thankful for Congressman LaLota’s advocacy on behalf of Brookhaven Town.”

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Matt Meduri has served as the Editor-in-Chief of the Messenger Papers since August 2023. He is the author of the America the Beautiful, Civics 101, and This Week Today columns. Matt graduated from St. Joseph's University, Patchogue, in 2022, with a degree in Human Resources and worked for his family's IT business for three years. He's also a musician and composer with his sights set on the film industry. Matt has traveled all around the U.S. and enjoys cooking, photography, and a good cup of coffee.