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Schultz Abandons Presidential Bid

Thu, 09/12/2019 - 13:57

Howard Schultz, the former chairman and chief executive of the Starbucks chain and a part-time resident of East Hampton Village, has abandoned his independent campaign for president.

In January, Mr. Schultz, whom Forbes magazine said has a net worth of $3.7 billion, published “From the Ground Up: A Journey to Reimagine the Promise of America,” and appeared on the CBS newsmagazine program “60 Minutes” and in The New York Times.

In the Times, he told Andrew Ross Sorkin, who had interviewed Mr. Schultz at the East Hampton Library in 2018 as part of the library’s Tom Twomey Series of conversations, that he was preparing a presidential bid as an independent and had begun the groundwork required to be on the ballot in all 50 states. He said he would travel the country for three months as part of a tour to promote “From the Ground Up” before making a decision as to whether to seek the presidency.

Since then, Mr. Schultz wrote in an email to supporters on Friday, “I’ve come to face a few truths about this moment in time.” Among those truths is that “extreme voices currently dominate the national dialogue, often with a vitriol that crowds out and discourages thoughtful discussions.”

Mr. Schultz, who was critical of both major political parties when announcing that he was exploring a presidential bid, said that he had also concluded that not enough people are willing to back an independent candidate “because they fear doing so might lead to re-electing a uniquely dangerous incumbent president. There is considerable concern that four more years of a Trump administration pose a graver threat to our democracy than four more years of political dysfunction.”

In a statement that appears to refer to former Vice President Joe Biden, who leads in most polls for the Democratic Party’s nomination, Mr. Schultz also cited states’ election rules and the present campaign for the nomination, which he said makes it likely that the Democratic nominee will not be known before the deadlines to submit the required number of signatures to appear on the ballot as an independent candidate.

“If I went forward, there is a risk that my name would appear on ballots even if a moderate Democrat wins the nomination,” he wrote, “and that is not a risk I am willing to take.” A moderate candidate, he wrote, is more likely to defeat Mr. Trump than “a far-left Democratic candidate” who “could result in more votes for Trump.”

A back injury in April, and three subsequent surgeries, put his deliberations on hold, he wrote to supporters in June. In his email on Friday, he said that the injury and surgeries “required a level of recovery that has prevented me from continuing my travels and engaging with people to the degree that is necessary.”

“My belief in the need to reform our two-party system has not wavered,” he wrote, “but I have concluded that an independent campaign for the White House is not how I can best serve our country at this time.”

Mr. Schultz owns a nearly five-acre property on Gracie Lane with his wife, Sheri Kersch-Schultz, who oversees the Schultz Family Foundation, which links disadvantaged youth and veterans to jobs. In Friday’s email, he wrote that he would continue to work with his wife to support the foundation’s goals and “encourage business leaders to play a larger role in creating access to opportunities for people in the communities they serve, and beyond.”

He also wrote of supporting “common- sense policies and initiatives that can help address widening inequality at home, while strengthening America’s standing in the world,” including advocating increased national service opportunities for youth.

“I implore my fellow Americans not to become hopeless or complacent,” he wrote. “We each have a responsibility, and a chance, to help our country reform its politics and live up to its ideals. How we do so is a journey we all must take. To everyone who has joined my journey, especially my family, my gratitude is limitless.”

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