(Stephen Brashear / Getty) There's growing buzz around the idea Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz might run for president.
A pair of recent reports have said Schultz is considering launching a White House bid as a Democratic challenger to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
On Saturday, the New York Times' Maureen Dowd published a column that claimed "potent friends of America’s lord of latte, Howard Schultz, have been pressing him to join the Democratic primary, thinking the time is right for someone who’s not a political lifer."
And on Tuesday, The Wrap's Sharon Waxman published a piece suggesting "Schultz is mulling a run for president, headed straight for Hillary Clinton’s right flank, just as Joe Biden aims for her left."
Waxman's column was particularly interesting — since, as she disclosed in the piece, Waxman and her company have relationships with Schultz.
"Full disclosure: I know Howard Schultz personally, and the venture firm which he cofounded but does not run is an investor in TheWrap," Waxman wrote.
Schultz, who has been credited with engineering Starbucks' rise and returning to revitalize it in the wake of the recession, has previously expressed interest in politics. Earlier this year, Schultz launched an ill-fated campaign to encourage discussions of race at Starbucks locations. Starbucks also launched a campaign urging Congress to "come together" during the 2013 government shutdown.
He was floated as a possible presidential candidate in the 2008 race and again this cycle. However, Schultz has repeatedly denied having presidential aspirations.
However, an executive at a consulting company linked to Starbucks has purchased a "2016" web domain for Schultz. Records show Jagatjoti Singh Khalsa purchased HowardSchultz2016.com in late 2011. He renewed the site last year. Khalsa is a director at the strategy company Fahrenheit 212, which has worked with Starbucks.
Starbucks has not responded to multiple request for comment on this story.
In a conversation with Business Insider, Khalsa said his purchase of the site was "unrelated" to his work with Fahrenheit 212 and occurred before he joined the company.
"I met Mr. Schultz three or four years ago. I was impressed by all the work that he was doing as he started to work on his jobs program at Starbucks and in the elevator when I left him I bought the domain," Khalsa said. "My intuition told me he would be a great candidate that might consider running."
Khalsa claimed he hasn't "had a conversation" with Schultz since then. He also said he believes Hillary Clinton, the current front-runner in the Democratic primary, won't "make it to the first debate."
"I think Hillary will drop out with a quote, 'illness,' in advance," Khalsa said.
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