Ex-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz builds elite PR team as he mulls White House run

Political strategists from both sides of the aisle say that by enlisting the help of this PR team Schultz is clearly signaling he is exploring a run for president.

“I certainly believe in the abstract people coming from the business into politics, particularly a run for president, they need someone around them. They need to have people familiar to them to help them,” said Thomas Rath, a New Hampshire Republican operative and a former aide to Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich when he ran for president in 2016.

Rath explained though that if Schultz wants to be a serious contender for president, he needs to load up his unit with more politically savvy advisors, such as Schmidt.

“Others like Schmidt would be invaluable. Steve has seen so much. He would have a sense as to what the calendar means,” Rath added. “He would know how to hunt delegates and a keen sense as to how best to raising money.”

Democratic political strategist Hank Sheinkopf said he believes Schultz is putting together a group that could help in a variety of ways if he chooses to run for president.

“He wants to show people he can put together a team quickly and the best presidential campaigns have people from multidisciplinary sectors, from the private sector to those in political work. It’s smart. The Clinton’s first campaign had film makers. So did Ronald Reagan,” Sheinkopf said. “Bringing all different types of people into the operation shows you know what you’re doing and its a warning to other candidates.”

Still, those close to Schultz say he hasn’t traveled to the places presidential hopeful go to before they announce their intention to run for office.

He has yet to make his way up to the early primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire, according to a person with direct knowledge of the matter. It’s unclear when or if he will make it his way to these pivotal states.

He also hasn’t met with Democratic Party leaders to discuss jumping into the race, although strategists say it’s too early for anyone to make such a move.

Schultz, a resident in the state of Washington, has also not met with officials from the state Democratic Party.

For his part, the former Starbucks chairman has been critical of the party in the past.

In an interview with CNBC in June, Schultz went on the offensive and said Democrats need to be careful with how far they veer to the left.

“It concerns me that so many voices within the Democratic Party are going so far to the left,” Schultz said. “I say to myself, ‘How are we going to pay for these things,’ in terms of things like single payer [and] people espousing the fact that the government is going to give everyone a job. I don’t think that’s realistic.”

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