Chicago Cubs owners Joseph and Marlene Ricketts are now backing Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and plan to put money into his campaign, NBC News reports.
Brian Baker, a spokesperson for the Ricketts, said the family decided to back Trump because they don’t want to see Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton win in November. According to Baker, the Ricketts think Trump performing well in the election will improve the GOP's chances of holding on to the Senate.
The Chicago Tribune reports the Ricketts plan to spend about $1 million in support of Trump’s presidential bid. However, Baker would not give NBC News an estimate of how much the family would spend. When asked if the family would donate $10 million or $50 million, Baker said it could be either.
It isn’t clear how exactly the Ricketts will donate the money. Their super Political Action Committee, Ending Spending Action, already has a hand in down ballot races. Baker told NBC News they could create a new entity or use their current super PAC to donate. In any event, Baker noted that the family will not donate to a super PAC controlled by someone else.
According to a Monday CNN report, billionaire Sheldon Adelson will likely give $5 million to the Ricketts’ political efforts.
“I hope so,” Baker said, although he noted that he first heard about the potential donation from the CNN report.
During the primaries, the Ricketts spent $5.5 million on negative advertising against Trump, the Tribune reports. In response, Trump sent a veiled threat to the family in February.
“I hear the Rickets [sic] family, who own the Chicago Cubs, are secretly spending $’s against me,” Trump tweeted. "They better be careful, they have a lot to hide!”
Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts, Joseph and Marlene Ricketts’ son, responded later that month.
“It’s a little surreal when Donald Trump threatens your mom,” he told reporters at the time. “The fact is, whether it’s my mom or my dad on his Ending Spending stuff or my sister on marriage equality or my brothers and what they do or what we do with the team, we’re pretty much an open book.”
"We stand up for what we believe in. That’s what America should be,” he added.
The Ricketts family has deep and varied political ties.
Pete Ricketts, another son of Joseph and Marlene Ricketts, is the Republican governor of Nebraska. He endorsed Trump in May, the Tribune reports.
Additionally, Laura Ricketts, the daughter of Joseph and Marlene Ricketts, is a prominent LGBTQ activist who hosted a big-ticket Clinton fundraiser in July.