Today’s installment of campaign-related news items from across the country.
* Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz announced the end of his independent presidential campaign this morning, explaining in a three-page letter to supporters that he didn’t have a path to victory. His decision comes as a relief to Democrats who believed Schultz would split the center-left mainstream and help re-elect Donald Trump.
* Mayor Pete Buttigieg has raised quite a bit of money for his presidential race, and he’s now investing those resources into a new television ad campaign. This 30-second spot is the first of his candidacy.
* Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), who’s up for re-election next year, caused a bit of stir this past weekend, telling a group of voters that she’d like to see a discussion about reforming Social Security happen “behind closed doors.”
* With Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) stepping down for health reasons, Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) reportedly hopes to be appointed to fill the vacancy ahead of the 2020 special election. Collins is currently the ranking member on the House Judiciary Committee, where he’s earned a reputation as a sycophantic ally of Donald Trump.
* Who might be the next Democratic presidential candidate to drop out? New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio told reporters this week, “I’m going to go and try to get into the October debates, and if I can, I think that’s a good reason to keep going forward. And if I can’t, I think it’s really tough to conceive of continuing.”
* On a related note, the next Democratic presidential primary debate will be in Houston on Thursday. The fourth, which will be a little easier to qualify for, will be in mid-October in Ohio.
* And in California’s 36th congressional district, Rep. Raul Ruiz (D-Calif.) will apparently face a re-election campaign against a Republican who has the exact same name. This is rare, but it does happen from time to time, including Ron Estes facing off against Ron Estes in Kansas last year.