Republican Senate candidate Ed Gillespie, who helped co-found the American Crossroads super PAC with GOP strategist Karl Rove, won’t be relying on Rove’s group as his chief outside booster in his Virginia campaign.
He’s getting a super PAC of his own.
Allies of Gillespie, the former Republican National Committee chairman, have created the We Can Do Better PAC, National Journal has learned. A fact sheet distributed to donors lists veteran Republican strategist Paul Bennecke, a former political director of the Republican Governors Association, as the senior adviser to the super PAC.
Bennecke is familiar with Virginia’s political landscape. He ran a super PAC that spent about $5 million in a failed bid to return Republican George Allen to the Senate in 2012. Reached by phone, Bennecke declined to comment.
Senate candidates in 2014 across the nation are getting personalized super PACs — which can collect money in unlimited chunks. But the creation of a pro-Gillespie super PAC is particularly intriguing, considering his crucial role in the creation of American Crossroads, one of the biggest players in the 2012 elections.
Republican donors complained about American Crossroads and its nonprofit arm, Crossroads GPS, for spending hundreds of millions of dollars in 2012, only to lose most of the races in which they campaigned. In 2014, the Republican super PAC world has increasingly splintered, as state-specific entities have sprung up promising donors more targeted spending.
Gillespie is challenging incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Warner this year. Filings show the We Can Do Better PAC was registered with the Federal Elections Commission by attorney Michael Adams one week after Gillespie entered the race in January.
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