The guy who destroyed $5 million of “assault-style” weapons from the shelves of the stores where he was hired to turn a profit for them, is reportedly considering a third-party run for president in 2020.

Hmmm… a third-party candidate in favor of gun-control running against a Democrat in favor of gun control and a Republican, who’s a fierce defender of the Second Amendment—who are Republican voters most likely to support?

According to Politico – Ed Stack, the CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods and a longtime Republican donor, is testing the waters for a possible third-party presidential bid that could scramble the dynamics of the 2020 general election.

Various messages were presented to a focus group in southern Wisconsin this week centering on the billionaire businessman, along with possible three-way match-ups against Donald Trump and Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren.

The focus group, according to a source who took part in the testing, ran through varying themes involving Stack and heavily focused on his example of “showing leadership” by halting the sale of assault-style rifles at all of Dick’s Sporting Goods stores in the wake of the high school massacre in Parkland, Fla.

A source familiar with Stack’s thinking said, “Mr. Stack enjoys running Dick’s Sporting Goods and has no plans to run for any elected office.”

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The message testing told a different story. Those in the group were shown several short videos of other candidates including Biden, Warren and former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz — a fellow billionaire who explored a presidential bid as an independent before announcing in September that he would not run — but viewed eight or nine videos that included Stack messaging, according to a focus group participant.

The focus group member, who presented paperwork to verify participation, declined to be named.

The session concluded with participants asked to vote on sample ballots that matched up Stack, Biden, and Donald Trump and then Stack, Elizabeth Warren, or Trump.

Stack has taken on a higher media profile in recent weeks, coinciding with the release of a new book, titled “It’s How We Play the Game.” This week, Stack took aim at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for failing to make headway on gun reform.

“I wish he’d have the guts to bring it to a vote,” Stack said.

Joe Hunter, an adviser to Gary Johnson’s Libertarian Party presidential bids in 2012 and 2016, said he has heard Stack’s “name come up” in discussions about a possible run for president.

While Stack is testing as an independent candidate, he has been a major Republican donor. In 2012, he gave $100,000 to Restore Our Future, the super PAC backing Mitt Romney. He’s also given $10,000 to the Pennsylvania Republican Committee and donated to various GOP members of Congress, including House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

In 2016, he drew the ire of the National Republican Congressional Committee after donating $300,000 to a super PAC supporting House Democrats — a donation he said at the time was aimed to benefit his sister, Kim Myers, who was running for Congress as a Democrat in New York.

 

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