4:27 pm Sep. 17, 2012
Joe Ricketts, the billionaire founder of local news site DNAInfo and conservative mega-donor, will host a breakfast fund-raiser for Arizona congressman and Senate candidate Jeff Flake at his apartment in the Time Warner Center on October 1.
Senator John McCain will be a special guest.
Ricketts got some unwanted attention earlier this election cycle, when a proposed plan to spend $10 million on a series of ads attacking President Obama for his connections to the Rev. Jeremiah Wright leaked to the New York Times. The proposal even mentioned McCain, saying the hard-hitting attacks on Wright aimed to “do exactly what John McCain would not let us do” in the 2008 cycle.
Ricketts quickly distanced himself from the proposal, saying the plan was just one suggestion, and not something he had authorized, but not before it cost him some goodwill with Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel. (Ricketts' family owns the Chicago Cubs and is seeking a new stadium deal with the city; he also happens to be planning to expand DNAInfo to Chicago later this year.)
The Wall Street Journal reported this morning that Ricketts will still spend the $10 million he had budgeted for the presidential election this cycle, but the ads will mostly feature disaffected Obama voters. Ricketts also plans to spend $2 million on congressional races.
Among the co-hosts for his breakfast benefiting Flake are Lew and Judy Eisenberg, Ginny and David Knott and former secretary of the Navy John Lehman. An invitation to the event was circulated this afternoon by the New York Republican Party.
Flake is facing a surprisingly tough race from Democrat Richard Carmona, who served as surgeon general under George W. Bush. Carmona is a personal favorite of Senator Chuck Schumer, who has long dreamed of capitalizing on Arizona's increasing Latino population and capturing the Senate seat.