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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Just after President Obama finished his address to the DNC, Hillary Clinton walked out on stage to join him, so the better could share a few embraces, wave to the crowd—and let the cameras capture all the unity for posterity.
In a speech that began a bit like a State of the Union address, President Obama said the "country is stronger and more prosperous than it was" when he took office eight years ago. He then talked of battling Hillary Clinton for the nomination in 2008, and discovering her "unbelievable work ethic," before saying that no one—"not me, not Bill"—has ever been more qualified to be president. When his first mention of Donald Trump drew boos, he quickly admonished the crowd: "Don't boo. Vote." He then added that Trump is "not really a plans guy. Not really a facts guy, either."
Tim Kaine introduced himself to the nation tonight, devoting roughly the first half of his speech to his own story (peppered with a little of his fluent Spanish) before pivoting to Hillary Clinton—and her opponent. "Hillary Clinton has a passion for children and families," he said. "Donald Trump has a passion, too: himself." His most personal line came after noting that his son Nat just deployed with his Marine battalion. "I trust Hillary Clinton with our son's life," he said.
Michael Bloomberg said he wasn't appearing to endorse any party or agenda. He was merely there to support Hillary Clinton. "I don't believe that either party has a monopoly on good ideas or strong leadership," he said, before enumerating how he disagreed with both the GOP and his audience in Philadelphia. "Too many Republicans wrongly blame immigrants for our problems, and they stand in the way of action on climate change and gun violence," he said. "Meanwhile, many Democrats wrongly blame the private sector for our problems, and they stand in the way of action on education reform and deficit reduction." Calling Donald Trump a "dangerous demagogue," he said, "I'm a New Yorker, and a know a con when I see one."
Vice President Biden tonight called President Obama "one of the finest presidents we have ever had" before launching into a passionate defense of Hillary Clinton. "Everybody knows she's smart. Everybody knows she's tough. But I know what she's passionate about," he said. "There's only one person in this race who will help you. ... It's not just who she is; it's her life story." But he paused to train some fire on her opponent "That's not Donald Trump's story," he said. "His cynicism is unbounded. ... No major party nominee in the history of this country has ever known less."