By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A well-funded U.S. non-profit group using the Internet to find a centrist candidate to run for president said on Tuesday it had failed to generate enough interest in any one nominee.
The group, Americans Elect, was creating a third party in which voters were to choose someone challenge Democratic President Barack Obama and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney in the November election.
The group qualified to get its candidates onto the ballot in 27 states in November and raised millions of dollars, prompting concern among some Republicans and Democrats that it could affect the outcome in what is expected to be a close election.
Americans Elect Chief Executive Kahlil Byrd said no candidate had received enough support by a deadline of midnight on Monday to enter its "online convention" in June.
He left the door open for the group to continue seeking a candidate. "There is, however, an almost universal desire among delegates, leadership and millions of Americans who have supported AE to see a credible candidate emerge from this process," Byrd said in a statement.
Third party candidates have not come close to winning U.S. presidential elections, but they have affected them.
The only two incumbent presidents who have failed to be re-elected in the past 32 years were Democrat Jimmy Carter and Republican George H.W. Bush, both when third-party candidates won a significant number votes.
Americans Elect was founded by wealthy New York financial executive Peter Ackerman. Its officers include political veterans from both parties who say they are tired of the poisonous divide between U.S. Democrats and Republicans.
The group set itself up as a non-profit, which does not have to release the names of its donors. Campaign finance activists say the group is violating the tax code and have complained to federal tax authorities.
(Editing by Doina Chiacu)