What do President Obama and George Allen have in common?
Not much, but they do now share one trait — both have super PACs in their corner.
On Friday, Paul Bennecke filed papers with the Federal Election Commission creating the Independence Virginia PAC. A longtime Virginia operative, Bennecke told Politico — which first reported on the new committee — that he planned to raise $2 million to 3 million to help Allen in his bid to succeed retiring Sen. James Webb (D).
Allen is likely to face fellow former governor Timothy M. Kaine (D) in November, and Kaine’s campaign wasted little time in jumping on the news of the fundraising venture.
“It looks like Christmas came early for George Allen,” Kaine’s camp said in an e-mail to supporters Monday evening, asking for contributions “to ensure we have the resources to protect Tim Kaine’s good name.”
Kaine, the former Democratic National Committee chairman, has outraised Allen so far, taking in $5.2 million through Dec. 31, compared to $4.7 million for Allen. But the Republican has already gotten some outside help, including supportive ad campaigns from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Crossroads GPS.
Super PACs -- which can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money as long as they don’t coordinate with candidates — are already playing a key role in the 2012 cycle, including the pro-Obama Priorities USA. As The Fix noted Tuesday, 69 percent of voters in the new Washington Post-ABC News Poll believe super PACs should be illegal.