Dem leader cautions ex-Starbucks CEO against independent White House bid

A report this week that the onetime CEO of coffee titan Starbucks, Howard Schultz, is weighing an independent bid for the presidency brought a two-word reaction from the Democratic Party chairwoman in Washington state:

"Please. Don't."


"Too much is at stake to make this about the ambitions of any one person," said Democratic Party Chairwoman Tina Podlodowski. In a statement this weekend, she urged him not to put personal ambition ahead of national interest.

"The 2020 race for President has to be about relegating Donald Trump to the dustbin of history, and reclaiming the Oval Office for our people and our future," the statement read.

Her comments come on the heels of a Washington Post report earlier this week saying that Schultz's advisers have been exploring the possibility of an independent candidacy for the White House.


It isn't the first time he has teased a political campaign since stepping down as CEO of Starbucks in 2018.

“I’m thinking about a lot of things,” Schultz told “CBS This Morning” at the opening of a Starbucks store location in Milan, Italy, last year. “I said publicly that perhaps one of them will be public office, but there’s a lot of things I could do, perhaps to help the American people and help people who are not being served by this administration by not running for president. We’ll have to see.”


The Washington state party chair's comment about the latest hint:

"You claim you're a lifelong Democrat, so if you want to run, run as a Democrat. Invest in the Party's infrastructure so that we can win the White House and the Senate and expand our majority in the House. You can even start at home, with the Washington State Democratic Party. Let's meet and I'll tell you about the programs we've built to run candidates in every race, and every place. We'd love for you to support us. After all, that's what Democrats do -- we work together, using our skills and assets, to put people first and make our country better."

The caution about staging an independent campaign highlights Democratic concerns about a potential split in Dems' vote in the 2020 election, which they fear would propel President Trump to a second term.

Fox News' Kelly Phares contributed to this report.