The Hattiesburg American, 9/16/7

Even before Fred Thompson decided to formally enter the presidential race, Mississippians eager to send the former senator and actor to the White House gave him campaign cash.

The state usually gives less than most others to presidential candidates of either party, donating less than $1.7 million of the $880 million raised for presidential candidates in 2004. But it was among the top 10 to give to Thompson’s exploratory committee, which raised nearly $3.5 million before the Tennessee Republican officially entered the race this month.

Mississippi Republicans have yet to coalesce around any of the nine major Republican candidates, and tough-talking Thompson hopes his regional favoritism helps him put a lock on the conservative South.