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Howard Schultz says he won’t run for president as an independent

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on Friday announced that he does not plan to mount a bid for the White House as an independent in 2020.

Mr. Schultz, who had been exploring a presidential run as an independent, said he’ll instead devote financial resources to “invest in people, organizations and ideas that promote honesty, civility and results in our politics, and that move the country beyond two-party gridlock.”

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

Mr. Schultz acknowledged concerns from some activists that his entering the race could have siphoned votes away from the eventual Democratic presidential nominee and boosted President Trump’s re-election chances.

“[N]ot 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 said.

He also said “extreme voices” have come to dominate political dialogue, but that he didn’t want to risk jumping into the race if a more moderate nominee does emerge from the pack.

“It has become more likely that the Democratic nominee will not be known before the deadlines to submit the required number of signatures for an independent to get on the ballot,” he said. “If I went forward, there is a risk that my name would appear on ballots even if a moderate Democrat wins the nomination, and that is not a risk I am willing to take.”

He also said a back injury and three subsequent surgeries have curbed his travel schedule.

Mr. Schultz said one of his efforts now will be to advocate for increased national service opportunities for young people.

“I implore my fellow Americans not to become hopeless or complacent,” he said. “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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