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Howard Schultz protest
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Protest gathers outside Howard Schultz event in Seattle

Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz returned to Seattle days after announcing a possible run for president.

Schultz told 60 Minutes that he’s seriously thinking of running for president, calling himself a “centrist independent.”

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He’s at Seattle’s Moore Theater Thursday night for a book tour stop, where he was greeted by a protest outside the venue.

It was organized by state Democrats who feel he would spoil the 2020 elections by possibly running as an independent, a prospect many worry could draw support from the eventual Democratic nominee and hand President Donald Trump another four years in office.

Schultz has ignored the criticism, saying neither political party is a viable option for voters.

“I look at both parties. We see extremes on both sides,” Schultz said.

Among those urging him not to run as an independent has been Tina Podlodowski, the Washington State Democratic Party Chair, who spoke at the rally hosted by Indivisible Washington’s 8th District.

“Since 2005, Howard Schultz has only voted in 11 of 38 elections — you’ve not done your duty and responsibility as a citizen,” said Podlodowski at Thursday’s protest.

“Just don’t!” protesters yelled in response outside the Moore Theatre.

“I am here on behalf of everyone in this county and this country who has a memory, who remembers when Ralph Nader’s ego got in the way of Al Gore becoming president,” said King County Executive Dow Constantine, who spoke directly after Podlowski.

The Associated Press and MyNorthwest Staff contributed to this story.

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