Starbucks Billionaire Howard Schultz Backs Joe Biden, Plans To Donate As Well

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Speaks At Miami Dade College

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz speaks during a stop at Miami Dade College as he seeks a … [+] possible independent presidency run on March 13, 2019 in Miami, Florida. Mr. Shultz spoke about the political climate currently in Washington, DC among other topics as he continues to explore a possible White House run as an independent party candidate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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Less than two months before election day, former Starbucks CEO and one-time presidential hopeful Howard Schultz said Monday he will vote for Joe Biden and contribute to his campaign.

“In my view, our choice this November is not just for one candidate over another,” he said in an essay posted on his website Monday and sent to his own listserv, rather than through the Biden campaign. “What is at risk is democracy itself: Checks and balances. Rigorous debate. A free press. An acceptance of facts, not ‘alternate facts.’ Belief in science.”

The late-in-the-game endorsement also stated that he plans to give to nonpartisan organizations that support get-out-the-vote efforts. Schultz did not specify which ones, or reply to request for comment.

The Starbucks mogul has expressed his admiration for Biden in the past. But according to filings with the Federal Elections Committee he has not yet joined the ranks of billionaire donors to Biden’s campaign, which include  David Geffen and Meg Whitman. In 2018, before exploring a campaign for president as an independent, Schultz said he believed the Democratic Party was moving too far to the left.

Schultz, who Forbes estimates is  worth $4.2 billion, has not been a big political donor in the past.  In 2016, he donated just under  $22,000 to support Hillary Clinton, $1,250 to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and $400 to the (ultimately unsuccessful) campaign of Sean Barney, an attorney and veteran who ran for the Democratic nomination for Delaware’s sole U.S. congressional seat. The largest publicly-disclosed political donation he has made in the past decade was a $50,000 gift in 2018 to the With Honor Fund, a nonpartisan super PAC that supports veteran candidates.

He was, however, reportedly planning to spend $100 million on his own potential campaign for president before dropping out in September 2019 after it became apparent there was no path to victory. Although he made it clear at the time he did not support President Donald Trump, he also did not commit to backing whoever would be running against him. Instead, he said he would put the money he planned to spend on his own campaign “to invest in people, organizations and ideas that promote honesty, civility and results in our politics.”

Schultz’s approach to the election is in stark contrast to that of other deep-pocketed former presidential hopefuls Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg endorsed Biden immediately after dropping out of the primary for the Democratic nomination in March, and Steyer followed in April. Steyer has since donated $360,000 to a pro-Biden PAC, while Bloomberg announced Sunday that he plans to spend at least $100 million in the crucial swing state of Florida to support Biden.

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