'Billionaires for Romney' to protest his visit Friday

Local political activists are planning to meet Mitt Romney's visit to Newport Beach on Friday with a mocking wink and nudge when they dress up as faux-billionaires to protest the wealthy's influence in Washington politics.

Led by 29-year-old entrepreneur and event organizer Christian Larsen, the "Billionaires for Romney" group will protest the Republican presidential candidate's fundraising visit to the Balboa Bay Club and Resort at 5:30 p.m. across the street.

"We want to draw attention to the dangers of unchecked Wall Street power to the 99%," Larsen wrote in a news release, "and Romney, with his plans to cut capital gains tax and privatize Social Security, is a perfect target."

Newport Beach's conservative residents have proven a reliable source of donations for past Republican presidential hopefuls, such as when Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) stopped by the city during his 2008 run.

Tickets to Romney's luncheon cost between $1,000 and $25,000. Tickets were originally set at $2,500, but organizers said Wednesday that they were able to secure more space at the resort and discounted tickets to attract more donors.

Just four months ago, President Barack Obama was also on the receiving end of criticism as he hosted a fundraiser in Corona del Mar.

In February, when Obama stopped by a family's home near Cameo Shores, his motorcade was met by demonstrators and counter-demonstrators. Tickets for that event ranged from $2,500 to more than $35,000.


Twitter: @JosephSerna

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