By Alan Lange

As featured in the Metro Business Chronicle

Well, the 2007 election year cycle in Mississippi will be heating up in a matter of months. All good businesspeople know that should their business depend on access to state governmental officials, the smart money is the early money. In horse racing parlance, a well placed $500 contribution in the earliest phases of a campaign can pay about 10:1 odds and can arguably be worth more than $5,000 at a “burn the note” party after a successful election.

To prove the point, as recently as last summer many die-hard Harvey Johnson architect and engineer-types were scrambling at the Frank Melton victory party looking like lost dogs and trying to figure out whom to hand a big check to.

Trey Bobinger, a successful lobbyist based in Jackson, agrees. “There is always some risk when you contribute early, but it is generally taken as a sign of true commitment to that candidate . . . win, lose or draw. What I advise my clients is to look for candidates that understand and value your industry and are open-minded and approachable.”

At the state level, I think there is the real possibility for a Republican sweep. At a minimum, the Republicans should control six of the eight statewide races.