Ed Whitfield, Riggs Bank, and The Saudi-Bush-Terror Connection

The hypocrisy of the modern Republican Party never ceases to amaze me. The Republican Party leadership is, and always will be the party of the mighty Greenback. Despite this they try to lecture all of us on things like moral values, and being tough on terrorists. However, if these things ever interrupt their endless quest for profits, they are easily forgotten if those profits are threatened.

A perfect case-in-point is the Congressman of Kentucky’s First Congressional District, Ed Whitfield. He paints himself as “tough on terror”, but the true terror to him is losing his precious profits.

As it ends up, he is tied to the Bush Family by more than just rubber-stamping every failed policy of a failed administration. Shortly before George W. Bush’s uncle, Jonathan Bush took over as CEO of Riggs Bank, Ed Whitfield bought some  Riggs Bank Stock. Whitfield held on to this stock, even though Jonathan Bush had been fined $30,000 in Massachusetts, and several thousands more in Connecticut for violating registration laws that govern securities sales in 1991 and was barred from securities brokerage with the general public in Massachusetts for one year.

But that is just the beginning. It appears that a Saudi named Omar al-Bayoumi housed and opened bank accounts at Riggs Bank for two of the 9-11 hijackers. Just two weeks after this assistance began, al-Bayoumi’s wife began recieving monthly payments totaling tens of thousands of dollars from Princess Haifa bint Faisal, wife of Bandar Bush of Farenheit 9-11 fame.


When the FBI discovered these transactions, they began an investigation of the bank for possible money-laundering, and funding of terrorism. Riggs bank was fined a record $25 million in 2004 for allegedly violating anti-money laundering laws because of it’s handling of Saudi-controlled accounts that were under investigation for possibly funding terrorism. One of Whitfield’s fellow Republicans, Charles Grassley had this to say about the fine:

“Riggs Bank deserves every penny of this huge fine,” Grassley said in a statement Thursday. “Banks have a patriotic duty, not to mention legal requirement, to report suspicious activity. When banks look the other way, they put our national security at risk. Whether it’s through incompetence, negligence or greed, they are allowing terrorists to funnel their blood money through the system.”


Do not Congressmen have a “patriotic duty” not to invest in such unscrupulous, criminal enterprises?

But it doesn’t stop there. Riggs bank also helped Chilean dictator  

Augusto Pinochet Ugarte hide millions of dollars of assets from international prosecutors while he was under house arrest in Britain. They came up with a clever and dishonest scheme to do this:

Senate investigators, who spent more than a year looking into Riggs, found that the bank attempted to use offshore and other accounts that were misleadingly named to obscure their connection to Pinochet. In documents required by federal regulators, for example, the bank referred to Pinochet not by name but as “a retired professional” who held a “high paying position in public sector for many years.”


Riggs Bank was forced to plead guilty in early 2005 to felony charges that they failed to file suspicious activity reports and were fined another$16 million to resolve the anti-money-laundering deficiencies in it’s former embassy and international operations.

Now, according to his seemingly incomplete 2006 personal financial disclosure, Ed Whitfield sold off his Riggs Bank holdings on Sept. 9, 2006. My question to Exxon Ed Whitfield, is why after this bank was taken over by a former criminal CEO, paid a fine for laundering possible terrorist Saudi money, and pled guilty to hiding money for a ruthless dictator, did it take him so long to sell off his stock? Are these the kind of “Family Values” that Whitfield sees fit to invest in? How can one be tough on Terrorism if they invest in institutions that possibly fund such activity?

This investment shows where the priorities of Exxon Ed Whitfield truly lie. The fact of the matter is that through two criminal investigations, guilty pleas, and fines, Exxon Ed Whitfield still saw Riggs Bank as a worthwhile investment, whether it supported terrorism and ruthless dictators or not.

Now, I am all for Americans investing, and bettering themselves. Part of the American way is the ability to grow your wealth, and be successful. However, don’t the investments you choose to make reflect upon your character and judgement? The fact that Whitfield supported all this illegal activity with his own invested money speaks volumes about his ability to lead, and make decisions for the citizens of Kentucky’s First Congressional District.

We need a new direction from this seat in our Congress. Exxon Ed Whitfield has become a millionaire while representing our district, and the average working family has fallen further behind. Now more than ever, we need new leadership in the Congress from this district:

Heather Ryan

We can win this race if we let the voters here know just how bad the judgementExxon Ed Whitfield has exercised truly is.

To do that, we need your help. Please consider supporting Heather Ryan, and helping her gain momentum going into the Fancy Farm Picnic, which kicks off the political season in Western Kentucky. You can do so here:

Goal Thermometer

It is time to retire members of Congress like Exxon Ed Whitfield, whose poor judgement puts profits over ethics, and blindly invests in criminal activity.  

AZ-03: Shadegg Still Longing For a Different Job

So first, Republican Congressman John Shadegg announced his retirement in February, telling reporters that life in the minority is a real bummer:

“I’ve just reached the conclusion I’d like to do something else with my life other than be in the minority in the U.S. House of Representatives.”

Desperate GOPers immediately begged Shadegg to unretire, and within days, he changed his mind and decides to stick it out for another term.

However, it’s clear that John Shadegg has fallen out of love with his job. In fact, he’s already openly musing about the next gig that he’d like to take! From PolitickerAZ.com:

“I see my friends in the Senate deeply engaged in fights where even in the minority you matter,” said Shadegg, who won a seat in Congress in the GOP’s 1994 rout but has since seen his party lose its majority. “Yeah, I could find that very interesting, very appealing.”

Asked point-blank if he would take McCain’s current position if given the opportunity, Shadegg responded: “Yes.”

Don’t you think that the voters of Arizona’s 3rd District deserve a representative who’s actually, you know, interested in their job instead of staring out of their office window and daydreaming all day?

MI-07: Tim Walberg Plays the Witch Card

GOP Rep. Tim Walberg, one of the finest far-right freshman loons in the House, has been catching a fair bit of heat in his district recently for his vote against reauthorizing the “Head Start” education program. The Patriot Majority group has taken to the airwaves to smack the congressman over his vote:

When asked to explain his vote, what does Walberg cite as his defense? Why, preventing lawsuits from the Wiccans, of course!

His only concern was that it didn’t exempt communities of faith from the hiring restrictions that other groups with Head Start classrooms must adhere to. […]

In other words, say a Baptist or a Catholic church wanted to continue to offer its Head Start program and a Muslim or “a Wiccan from a coven in Ann Arbor” wanted to apply for a job to teach there, now it couldn’t discriminate based on religious grounds anymore, or vice versa.

He said he offered an amendment that would have made that change, but it didn’t get any traction.

He said he doesn’t oppose Head Start, but by keeping that provision in the bill, he said religious organizations might decide it’s better to get rid of Head Start. It would also open all of them to lawsuits, because the Wiccan, or the Catholic or the Muslim who wasn’t hired, could say it was because of their religious beliefs, he said.

Nevermind that the “Wiccans in Ann Arbor” haven’t raised a fuss about the program so far. Walberg’s just being vigilant — very vigilant.

IL-13 What Can Happen in Four Days

Crossposted at DK, TPM, MyDD, and Prairie State Blue

Last Monday July 21st Sarah Topy and her staff at the Scott Harper campaign were looking forward to a week of data processing, fundraising and preparing for a big push in August after the immensely successful event they organized called “13 for the 13th” on July 13th, the single biggest Dem canvass ever held in IL-13.

There was a lot of file updating yet to do and wouldn’t you know Monday was the day the state guys finally had the new voter file ready to download. The new VAN basically updated and transformed all our files to new software and it was an all day procedure installing it. The files were still offline Monday night when I showed up at campaign HQ to make some calls. Rich Caparrell the field director was in Maryland for a much deserved long weekend off. We had another canvass scheduled for Saturday but volunteer turnout was expected to be light in the middle of vacation season and especially so soon after the big effort on July 13th. It wasn’t downtime but it’s as close as they’ll get in the next few months on Harper’s campaign.

Well that was the plan anyway, but it wasn’t to be. Read on for how those best laid plans went out the window in an instant and what happened next.

So just when they figured they’d be able catch up on some data entry the DCCC picked that Monday morning to announce the Mobilize for Change, 100 Days to Victory Contest which gave all Dem House challengers across the country just five days to see who could organize the most volunteers to pitch in on Saturday. The DCCC runs these contests periodically but I’ve never seen one so early in the cycle before. Running one this soon was a smart idea, competition gets the juices flowing just like the primaries particularly when House campaigns need some excitement in the dog days of summer. The reward for the winner is an email shout out to all three million contributors on DCCC chair Van Hollen’s email list that will bring in a significant chunk of cash and priceless name recognition and respect that’s sorely lacking for a lot of our House challengers.

So with the field director a thousand miles away and the computer files out of action til Tuesday they got to work. They called everybody on their own phone contact lists and emailed any and everybody in their personal address books who they thought might be willing to canvass all afternoon or make phonecalls for as little as half an hour on Saturday.

By Tuesday morning the voter file was up and running again. By Wednesday morning Rich was back in the office and the place was rockin’.

Here’s what they accomplished by Saturday:

635 volunteers made phone calls.

Hundreds attended phone bank sites or phone bank house parties and hundreds more took advantage of our call from home program. We had phonebank parties set up as far away as Seattle where one of Scott’s old classmates organized a party, to Denver where members of his family had 20 people making calls to NE Pennsylvania where Rich’s family pulled together in Hazleton with their cell phones.

64 volunteers went door-to-door.

Canvassers carried literature about Scott Harper and local Democratic candidates. I picked up a couple of DFA activists at the Fairview train station in Downers Grove and gave them their walk packets and lit. One guy, Greg Hodgson left his house in Indiana at 7:30 am and didn’t expect to get home until 7:30 Saturday night. The other guy William Maggos grew up in the district in Woodridge and came out from the south side of Chicago. You just gotta love dedication like that. It’s the kind of selfless sacrifice that wins elections.

59 volunteers wrote letters and delivered yard signs from our Naperville headquarters.

In all 758 Volunteers Mobilized Throughout the District and Across the Country to help Scott Harper in Just One Day!

When you consider they put all that together starting from behind with four days on the computer to work with instead of five like everybody else and the field director out of town until Wednesday that’s just incredible.

Scott’s broad base of support, not just among activists but among Democratic candidates and party leaders was a real key to our success. With the vast majority of candidates for State Representative, State Senate, and local office and all of our elected officials helping out by making calls or hosting sites for us, this whole event was a truly coordinated effort.

I can’t emphasize this enough, if your House candidate isn’t running a coordinated campaign up and down the ballot with other Dems in the area please contact them and let them know how effective it is. We had too many co-sponsors for this event to list them all but here are just a few who brought many of their own volunteers out and organized canvass staging sites and phonebanks through out the district.

A Big Thank You Goes Out to All the Co-Sponsors especially:


Dianne McGuire for State Representative

Joe Heneghan for State Representative

Audrey Manley for State Senate

Will County Board Candidates Karen Gonzalez and Jackie Traynere

DuPage County Board candidates Karol Sole and Bob Brandt

Elected Officials

State Senator A.J. Wilhelmi

State Senator Linda Holmes

State Senator Dan Kotowski

Will County Executive Larry Walsh

Judge Sarah Jones

Without these folks and many others and their organizations the Harper campaign wouldn’t have been able to mount this great team effort on such short notice. I don’t know as of yet who won the Mobilize for Change 100 Days to Victory Contest, I guess the DCCC is still tabulating the results. But I can tell you this is a tremendous success for the Scott Harper campaign and all our other candidates. With all of us pulling together like this we will win in November. And that’s just the beginning.

So thanks again to everybody who took time out on a beautiful summer Saturday to make this happen. Whether we win, lose or draw the DCCC contest we’ve taken another big step toward victory this fall. It’s change we can believe in because we are mobilizing that change ourselves.  


Mississippi Senate Speeches

Today, at the Neshoba County Fair, Senator Wicker (R) and former Governor Ronnie Musgrove (D) made their presentations to the crowd packed under the pavillion.  For those unfamiliar with the Fair, it is THE biggest political forum in Mississippi politics.  It’s political suicide if you miss this event.  Well, Wicker knows he needs support, so he bused in supporters from all over the state to help him campaign at the Fair today.  As you can see in the clips thanks to the link provided, the differences between Wicker and Musgrove are clear.  Musgrove suggested new ideas, Wicker used fear tactics like “Obama,” “liberal,” and “John Kerry” to explain why voters should not vote for Musgrove.

Each speech is about 12 minutes long.  So, grab some popcorn and enjoy the speeches.  


AL-03: Josh Segall Nipping at Rogers’ Heels — GOP Calls In Cheney

Josh Segall is a great young progressive Democrat running for Congress in Alabama's third district.  He's young, smart, enthusiastic and hard working, convinced that his district can and should be more prosperous than it's been under incumbent Mike Rogers, and he's raised enough money to be a threat.  The district is a favorable one for a Democrat too — it's the second most Democratic district in Alabama with 33% African American population and a high proportion of young voters.  Segall has outraised Rogers in the first and second quarters of this year and the incumbent is worried enough to have already started running television ads attacking him — so Josh is on the right track.  The problem is, he's not just running against Mike Rogers anymore — the Republicans have brought in their big gun, Dick Cheney himself, to raise money for Rogers and other Alabama Republicans.  Josh Segall needs grassroots help to cancel out the big donations Cheney will rake in at the Shoal Creek Country Club from the have-mores — the people George W. Bush likes to call "my base."   

Yeah, Cheney's popularity is hovering somewhere around "dirt" with average Americans but he's still one of the Republican party's most effective fundraisers.  "The base" loves this guy no matter what he's done to the Constitution.  For the Birmingham event, those who still like Dick Cheney will pay $500 for lunch and pony up $2000 for a photo op with Cheney, gun not included.  A photo op with the gun will cost you extra, but I'm sure they're willing to oblige if the monied elite demand it.   Alabama GOP Chairman Mike Hubbard expects 100 to 150 to attend the luncheon which some are predicting will raise $250,000 — as much as Michelle Obama raised on her Alabama visit last month.  Is that crazy or what???

And where are they holding this event?  Shoal Creek Country Club, an extremely posh place with it's own little piece of civil rights history.

Up until 1990, there were no African-American members of the club. Pressure from various groups prior to the 1990 PGA Championship led the club to integrate just nine days before the tournament. This happened in spite of founder Hall Thompson, who said "This is our home, and we pick and choose who we want. We have the right to associate or not associate with whomever we choose."

Very inclusive now, I'm sure, if you can afford the price of entry.

About Josh Segall:  

Segall is a 4th generation Alabamian and a 2001 graduate of Brown University (where he was active with the College Democrats) and the University of Alabama School of Law.  While at Alabama he founded an organization called "Homegrown Alabama" which worked with the university to buy its food from local Alabama farmers.  He worked on Mark Warner's successful 2002 gubernatorial campaign, Russ Feingold's Senate campaign and worked for the late Senator Paul Wellstone in his Washington office. He is currently with the Memory and Day law firm in Montgomery. Josh's father, Bobby Segall, is a past president of the Alabama Bar Association and is on the Board of Directors of the ACLU of Alabama, so you know he comes from good folks.  

Just how progressive is Josh Segall?  I've listed his position on several issues below so you can judge for yourself.  As a longtime Alabama Democrat accustomed to Republican-lite congressional candidates, I just can't tell you how exciting it is to see Segall running as a bona fide Democrat.   Notice I don't call him liberal.  He's to the right of me and might not pass muster as the "best" Democrat in a lot of districts on either coast, but he is in step with his district, progressive in a forward looking way and he's easily the "best" Democrat running for Congress from Alabama this cycle — the best in several cycles, actually.  He's the sort of new Southern Democrat we need to cultivate to replace some of our Blue Dogs who are too often just a pale shade of Republican.  Segall does not expect to get an endorsement from the Blue Dog Coalition — which elevates him considerably in my opinion.

Josh Segall supports:

And he's pro choice, recently telling a reporter "We should have fewer abortions, and I wouldn't advise it for a family member, but I don't think the federal government should decide that for you."  

Unlike incumbent Mike Rogers, Segall also believes a Congressman should listen to his constituents and put his district above everything else—including his political party.  Voting with his party 92% of the time, Rogers has been little more than a rubberstamp for the Bush/Cheney agenda since he got to Washington 6 years ago.  He hasn't built much of a name for himself in Washington either, with a power ranking of 403 out of 435 — he's 44th of the 46 members remaining from the class of 2002.

If you want to know more about him, here's Josh Segall liveblogging at Future Majority, an interview with Segall by Nathaniel Bach, and a Heading Left blogtalk radio interview by Adam Lambert and David Atkins.   There is also an online video called Alabama Roots.


About Alabama's 3rd District:  

This seat has only been in Republican hands since 1997 and the white Democrats here tend to be of the populist flavor.  Democrats are not out of favor in the 3rd district — they hold 75% of the locally elected offices.  Manufacturing, agriculture and the military are important industries in the 3rd district which is home to the Anniston Army Depot and has a large number of National Guard members and Reservists.  

Although the often quoted partisan voting index rates AL-03 as just R+4, the district actually has a very Democratic voting history.  The PVI only takes into account presidential voting and it skews Republican in states like Alabama, that have not seen a Democratic presidential campaign in a decade or so.  Let me quote PubliusIX who has made a study of the voting patterns in the 3rd district:

In terms of aggregate Democratic vote, this is the most Democratic district in Alabama outside Artur Davis’s African-American-majority Seventh District.  For only one precise metric, let’s look at the Alabama House of Representative districts nested in the Third.  There are 14 with a majority of the state districts within the congressional.  Of those 14, ten are held by Democrats, and in five of those ten, the GOP didn’t even bother running a candidate in 2006.  The aggregate Democratic vote in those State House seats in 2006 was 65.5%, compared to an aggregate Republican vote of 34.5%.  If you eyeball the courthouse offices, and count sheriffs, circuit clerks and probate judges, the results aren’t going to change much, if any.  Clearly, the majority of the voters in this district tend to vote Democratic most of the time.

Now, about that youth vote.  There are 4 colleges in the 3rd district:  Alabama State University (5500), Jacksonville State University (9000), Auburn University (24,000), and Tuskegee University (3000) with a total student population of about 38,000.  The Segall campaign will have a coordinator on every campus and Segall will be doing a college tour, visiting those campuses, starting in September.  I fully expect there will be an Obama coordinator (probably unpaid) doing voter registration and GOTV for each of those colleges as well.  So look for a big turnout of young voters in AL-03 November 4th. 

What about the "Obama effect" in AL-03?  PubliusIX has some numbers to shed light on that, too:

The presidential race is something of a wild card here.  Will white Democrats deserting Obama impact the congressional race?  Probably not.  First off, Obama did surprisingly well in this district.  Although Obama tanked in a couple of counties with low minority populations (18% in Cherokee County, 20% in Cleburne), he carried some other counties that don’t have African-American majorities (56% Obama in 57% white Talladega County; 61% Obama in 61% white Chambers County).  And to accept that Segall will be hurt by deserting white Democratic primary voters, you have to accept that someone who would vote in a primary for Hillary Clinton would vote for a congressman with a 100% rating from the Christian Coalition.  Yeah, I got a laugh out of that, too.  Even if some of these voters do defect, the downballot domination of Democrats shows they know how to split their tickets.

And that presidential race is a two-edged sword of which Mike Rogers should be very, very afraid.  The district is overall 30% African-American, and anyone who thinks turnout won’t be mind boggling in Macon County (which is in this district) wasn’t paying attention on February 5.  (If you weren’t, Macon County outvoted DeKalb County, a predominantly white, Democratic county with roughly three times its population, that day.)  The further into the 30’s the African-American percentage of the vote goes, the more heavily Rogers has to take a white vote that tends to vote Democratic anyway.  Alabama has enough residual racism to nauseate, but I doubt it has enough to neutralize that kind of turnout.

As you can see, this district is much more Democratic than "R+4" and is actually a very promising district for a Democratic candidate.  

The Bottom Line:

AL-03 is a real opportunity for Democrats — something that would have been unheard of 2 or 4 years ago when we didn't even field an active candidate.  The DCCC has taken notice and put it on their Emerging Races list for possible inclusion in the Red to Blue program.  Meanwhile, Segall has been successfully raising money on his own.  As of June 30 he had raised $552,000 and had $410,000 cash on hand, the most of any Democrat in Alabama.  Incumbent Mike Rogers' fundraising has tanked this year, but he still has a warchest of $1.1 million built up over 3 terms in Washington.  Now Dick Cheney is coming to raise money for Rogers and Josh Segall needs grassroots and netroots help to make sure Cheney's visit isn't the deciding factor in this election. 

The folks at Progressive Electorate have set up a Chase Cheney page for Josh Segall at ActBlue.   I'm asking you to please give whatever you can to cancel out some of the tens of thousands Dick Cheney will raise in Birmingham this Friday.  Help send a good Democrat, Josh Segall, to Congress from Alabama!  Do it for the progressive cause and, almost as important, DO IT BECAUSE THIS IS A RARE CHANCE TO STICK IT TO DICK CHENEY!  In a small way, of course, but you take your opportunities where you find them.  

NJ-04: The Bush-Smith Economy

Cross posted at Blue Jersey.

American families are hurting because our economy is hurting. Just in the past six months, we’ve seen almost half a million American jobs disappear. To take a longer view, George W. Bush’s administration has seen the weakest job growth, less than half of one percent per year, of any President since Herbert Hoover. The Bush-Smith record on jobs is abysmal. By contrast, under Bill Clinton jobs grew at five times that rate (2.5% average growth per year). And no one can accuse Chris Smith of having supported Bill Clinton.

More after the jump.

Job losses are one problem, and inflation is another. During the past twelve months, wages have risen by 2.8%. While that sounds good, inflation has jumped 4%, which means that the average person who has actually had a job has had his or her salary cut by more than 1% over the past year. It’s worth mentioning that the average American family’s annual household income is actually lower now by about $1000 compared to when George Bush took office seven years ago, while health insurance premiums have doubled (from $6000 to $12,000 per year) and, as we all know, the price of a gallon of gas has tripled. American families are losing ground. We need to do something, and we need to do it now.

President Bush and his allies in Congress blocked an attempt by progressives to extend unemployment benefits, on a temporary basis during this difficult time, by an additional twenty six weeks. All they would allow is thirteen more weeks. When breadwinners lose their jobs, families lose more than money, they can lose health insurance, they can fall behind on mortgage payments, they can lose a sense of security and well-being. That’s why I opposed George W. Bush, and support extending unemployment benefits by an additional twenty-six weeks.

One of the other key problems hurting families and hurting the broader economy is the housing and mortgage crisis. Homeowners, too many of whom were sold mortgages by brokers using deceptive practices, can’t make their payments because they lose their jobs or because of rising costs of living (or both). This leads to more foreclosures, which then hurts the value of everyone else’s homes, leaving many of us with negative equity. We have a vicious cycle that has to be broken.

It didn’t have to be this way. George Bush and his supporters in Congress, like Chris Smith, turned a blind eye to the excesses in the housing and mortgage market. Smith voted to deregulate the financial services industry in 1999, opening the door for the Wild West lending practices of the Bush years that helped bring about the subprime mortgage crisis [S. 900, Vote #570, 11/4/99] Smith, Christopher (NJ/R) Y. It’s par for the course when dealing with Republican mismanagement.

More broadly, we need to have an economy that grows, and whose growth does not only benefit those who are already wealthy. I know that working people’s energy and productivity drive economic growth, and I’ll fight to make economic growth work for all families. That’s why I’m running for Congress.

Please visit our website and consider making a contribution. To volunteer, email ian_at_joshzeitz_dot_com.

MI-13: Tight Three-Way Race in Dem Primary

Epic-MRA for Detroit News (7/26-27, likely voters):

Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick (D-inc.): 33

Mary Waters (D): 29

Martha Scott (D): 24

(MoE: ±4.9%)

Here’s a surprisingly close poll from a primary race that we’ve been paying next-to-no attention to. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick has represented Detroit for over a decade, but suddenly she finds herself polling at only 33% for the upcoming Aug. 5 primary. The fact that ex-State Rep. Mary Waters and State Sen. Martha Scott are splitting the ‘change’ vote seems to be the main thing keeping Cheeks Kilpatrick in this at all.

The problem for Cheeks Kilpatrick is that she’s tied her fortunes to her son, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. She keeps offering unconditional support for him while he keeps digging his hole deeper in the face of various investigations and indictments.

The primary election is the de facto general election in MI-13, by virtue of its D+32 status.

MS-Sen-B: Wicker Opens Up Nine-Point Lead in New Poll

Rasmussen (7/28, likely voters incl. leaners, 6/24 in parens):

Ronnie Musgrove (D): 43 (47)

Roger Wicker (R-inc): 52 (48)

(MoE: ±4%)

Without leaners, Wicker’s lead shrinks to six: 48-42. So what’s changed since last time? It’s hard to say that anything major happened, unless perhaps Wicker’s many ads are starting to sink in. That said, the DSCC has begun airing ads on Musgrove’s behalf in recent weeks.

More interesting are the racial breakdowns of the poll, which Rasmussen is including in its crosstabs for the first time: Wicker leads Musgrove by 70-21 among whites, but trails Musgrove by 83-3 (yes, three) among African-Americans. Unfortunately, we still don’t know how Rasmussen is weighting their sample make-up.

While the poll shows Musgrove down from his past strength among white voters (which was around 26% in the most recent R2K poll of this race), Wicker’s extremely low performance among black voters has got to be a serious concern if he hopes to manage a spike in turnout among such voters in November, with Barack Obama on the top of the ticket.

SSP currently rates this race as Lean Republican.

NE-Sen: Johanns Posts Another Big Lead

Rasmussen (7/28, likely voters, 6/23 in parens):

Scott Kleeb (D): 34 (33)

Mike Johanns (R): 60 (60)

(MoE: ±4.5%)

I’ve included “leaners” in the above numbers (because, really, there’s no point in not doing so). The story lies in the favorability numbers, where Johanns has a monster 70-27 rating. Kleeb’s numbers, not surprisingly, are much lower: 48-37.

It’s going to take some serious dynamite to shake up this race.