• Protesters gather outside Howard Schultz event in Seattle

    By: KIRO 7 News Staff

    Updated:

    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."

    He was at Seattle’s Moore Theater Thursday night for a book tour stop, where he was greeted by several dozens of protesters 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. 

    The protesters outside his talk chanted: "Pick a party." Some carried signs decorated like Starbucks cups that read "Compost your campaign" and "Grande ego. Venti mistake" — a reference to the Italian names for drink sizes at the coffee chain.

    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 are Tina Podlodowski, the Washington State Democratic Party Chair, who spoke at the 6 p.m. rally hosted by Indivisible Washington's 8th District.

    "For somebody who is professing to be a lifelong Democrat, I think to be running as in independent in this particular cycle is not a wise thing to do," Podlodowski said.

    Schultz promised the crowd, "I will do nothing on any level to proceed if I thought I would in any way persuade Americans to vote and re-elect Donald Trump."

    The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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