The CEO of Dick’s Sporting Goods, Ed Stack, is quietly mulling a 2020 presidential bid, Politico reports.
A focus group in southern Wisconsin was apparently presented with political messaging highlighting Stack’s credentials while placing him as a third-party contender against the likes of Donald Trump and Joe Biden or, alternatively, Elizabeth Warren, according to a source who attended the gathering.
Part of the pitch for Stack was his corporate activism with respect to firearms in the wake of the mass killing at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
The billionaire businessman was “showing leadership,” per the displayed ads at the focus group, when he announced his empire would no longer sell modern sporting rifles or firearms to adults under the age of 21.
It’s not clear how his portrayal as an anti-2A crusader was received by attendees. But, the 64-year-old magnate was criticized for his lack of charisma.
“[Focus group members] mentioned that if Biden’s getting the criticism that he looked old, Ed Stack didn’t look young either,” the participant told Politico, adding that some felt Stack “didn’t have the charisma it would take to attract a coalition that you’d need to have a chance as a third-party candidate.”
Stack has not publicly said whether he intends to run for president. However, a source close to him seemed to pooh-pooh the idea.
“Mr. Stack enjoys running Dick’s Sporting Goods and has no plans to run for any elected office,” said the individual.
Recently, Stack has been promoting his new book, “It’s How We Play the Game: Build a Business. Take a Stand. Make a Difference,” which like the focus-group materials also aims to lionize him for his stance on guns.
“One of the things I asked the parents from Parkland as we were leaving was, ‘What is it that you would like me to do?’ They said, ‘We would like you to keep the conversation going,’” Stack said during a book tour stop in his hometown of Binghamton, NY.
“That was a big watershed moment and we need to keep this conversation going. Which is one of the reasons I wrote the book. It talks about all the things you did to build the business to be in a position to be able to make these kinds of differences. One of the reasons to write the book was the commitment to those families to keep it going,” he added.
While some may applaud Stack for his “leadership,” others — specifically his investors — may have a problem with it as Dick’s sales have lagged behind its competitors in the sporting goods and hunting markets, not to mention the fact that the company lost approximately $250 million in sales as a result of its new corporate policies.
But hey, at least he made David Hogg happy.