Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced in a letter to his supporters on Friday that he is formally forgoing an independent presidential run in 2020.
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“I have concluded that an independent campaign for the White House is not how I can best serve our country at this time,” Schultz writes in a letter to supporters posted on his website.
In the three-page letter, the businessman lays out why he’s abandoning a presidential run — acknowledging the risk that if he ran his name would appear on general election ballots “even if a moderate Democrat wins the nomination” and back issues stemming from April led him to decide not to launch an independent bid.
Alex Wroblewski/Bloomberg via Getty Images, FILE
Howard Schultz speaks during his ‘From the Ground Up’ book tour in Washington, D.C., Feb. 14, 2019.
Critics of Schultz are sure to breathe a sigh of relief, as some Democrat’s viewed the former CEO’s potential independent candidacy as a sure-way to reelect President Donald Trump—an argument the billionaire now seems to side with after defending his potential candidacy throughout 2019.
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The former CEO’s never-fully-realized campaign was hinged on the idea that voters were looking for a moderate voice amid growing polarization but often faced criticem for playing both sides of issues without offering substantive plans forward. And in announcing he would not run on Friday, Schultz bemoaned that Americans weren’t supportive of independent candidates.
“Not enough people today are willing to consider backing an independent candidate because they fear doing so might lead to re-electing a uniquely dangerous incumbent president,” he writes.
Friday’s announcement doesn’t necessarily come as a surprises—after traveling to a number of states across the country in early 2019, flirting with an Independent presidential run, in recent months the former Starbucks CEO cut his team and announced he was taking the Summer off from considering a run while he recovered from multiple back surgeries.
Schultz, who without ever formally announcing a presidential run tried to carve out a moderate lane amid seemingly growing partisan times, had been eyeing the Democratic primary, weighing his decision in part on how well former Vice President Joe Biden performed in the summer months of the campaign and first few debates. A Shultz staffer told ABC News over the Summer that if Biden had a “strong” showing in the early months, it would “narrow options” for the billionaire.
Back in January. Schultz made headlines telling “60 Minutes” he was seriously considering running for president in 2020 as an independent candidate. “I wanna see the American people win. I wanna see America win. I don’t care if you’re a Democrat, Independent, Libertarian, Republican. Bring me your ideas, And I will be an independent person, who will embrace those ideas. Because I am not, in any way, in bed with a party,” he said.
Detractors quickly criticized the former coffee CEO for considering a potential run, arguing his candidacy would ultimately lead to reelecting President Donald Trump.
Now, instead of spending his riches running in 2020, the billionaire says he plans to use his money to be politically active and “fix our broken system.”
“The money that I was prepared to commit to a presidential campaign will instead be used to invest in people, organizations and ideas that promote honesty, civility and results in our politics,” Schultz writes.