Democratic Groups Promise to Target Schultz’s Candidacy If He Runs as Independent for President

Howard Schultz
Howard Schultz / Getty Images

As former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz mulls an independent bid for president, two Democratic groups are threatening to use resources to hurt his candidacy if he decides to run.

American Bridge, the Democratic Party's top opposition research firm, and the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a liberal grassroots organization, are looking to ease the concerns of Democrats who believe a third-party candidate could take votes away from the Democratic nominee and deliver a second term for President Donald Trump, the Washington Examiner reports. Both groups are vehemently opposed to Trump and believe Schultz could be an obstacle to defeating him.

American Bridge is an established, prominent player in collecting opposition research against Republicans, sending trackers around the country to follow candidates running for office. A spokesperson for the group, Andrew Bates, told the Examiner their "organizational mission is to defeat Donald Trump in 2020. If Howard Schultz decides to run as an independent and stands in the way of defeating Trump, we will oppose him at every turn."

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PCCC said they have already started to circulate a petition at SchultzHelpsTrump.com in order to inform Democrats their support for Schultz helps Trump by taking away votes from a Democratic nominee.

"If Howard Schultz wants to defeat Trump, running as an Independent is as politically out of touch as his attacking Elizabeth Warren for wanting to tax his wealth to provide health care and education to millions of Americans. Democratic, Republican, and Independent voters want a president who will fight for everyday working people and challenge big corporations — not a billionaire corporate CEO," PCCC spokesperson Marissa Barrow said in a statement.

"If Schultz wants to run and lose in the Democratic primary, that's fine — but our petition at SchultzHelpsTrump.com tells him he better not dare re-elect Trump by running as an Independent and siphoning off the anti-Trump vote," she added.

The statements opposing Schultz's potential run come a day after Priorities USA, the most powerful Democratic super PAC, announced it would make Schultz a "target" if he jumped into the race as an independent. Priorities USA spent over $200 million in the 2016 presidential election. Its co-founder Bill Burton, however, recently left his public affairs job to join Schultz's team.

Since Schultz's appearance on "60 Minutes" on Sunday night where he discussed the possibility of an independent run, liberals have slammed the former Starbucks CEO for not just joining the crowded Democratic primary. Neera Tanden, president of the Center of American Progress, threatened to organize a "boycott" against Starbucks if Schultz officially runs as an independent, calling it a "vanity project."