Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown is not mincing words when it comes to former Starbucks CEO, and 2020 independent candidate hopeful, Howard Schultz.
Within 24 hours of launching his “Dignity of Work” tour, Brown told a group of voters that Schultz was a “total idiot.” Strangely, the Senator was not prompted, in any way, as to what his opinion on Schultz was. The broadside came on Friday during a farmers roundtable in Perry, Iowa.
When a voter expressed his concern with dark money and PACs during the 2020 cycle, Brown interjected:
“Yeah, I mean you got this idiot Schultz running, maybe. He’s an idiot, I mean, he’s a total idiot.”
Schultz has neither formally launched his candidacy, nor has established a disproportionate amount of PACs supporting him at this point. It can be inferred that Senator Brown was referencing the fact that Schultz is the first billionaire to enter the race.
When the voter continued his question, directly asking the Ohio senator if he would accept PAC money, he replied: “Well, I have not decided yet.” He then intimated that it doesn’t matter where the money comes from as his record speaks for itself.
The issue of PAC money is already proving to be the Achilles heel of a candidate that many believe could be a strong contender in 2020. The RNC has already blasted Brown for being one of the highest recipients of special interest money in 2018. While focusing on Schultz was undoubtedly a pivot, the visceral response to Schultz’s potential aspirations have been exhibited throughout the country.
Schultz has been involved in an ongoing major media tour to tout his potential run. Thus far, he has received widespread criticism, primarily from Democrats and anti-Trump moderates. The majority of these criticisms have little to with his policy positions. Instead, the overwhelming focus is on the fear that he will be a “spoiler candidate” that would split the Democrat ticket and hand Trump the election. Schultz is attempting to position himself as a “centrist moderate” despite being a lifelong Democrat who supports universal healthcare.
It can be expected that, in these early days, any independent candidate who throws their hat into the ring will face similar opposition.
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Andrew Shirley is a reporter at Battleground State News and The Ohio Star. Send tips to [email protected].
Photo “Sherrod Brown” by Sherrod Brown.
Photo “Howard Schultz” by Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.
Background Photo “White House” by © Ad Meskens / Wikimedia Commons. CC BY-SA 3.0.