Politics is big business in Columbus, and it is a year-round endeavor for more people than you might imagine.

It's high season for politics in Ohio, even if you wouldn't know it by the race at the top of the ticket. The governor's race aside, be assured that those who toil in the political landscape have plenty to keep them busy. And when the votes are counted, they will still be hard at work-analyzing election outcomes, assessing relationships with officeholders and policymakers, laying plans to address public policy issues or legislative initiatives.

In short, politics is big business in Columbus, and it is a year-round endeavor for more people than you might imagine.

Contributing writer TC Brown, whose credentials include covering politics for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, provides a look inside the business of politics in Columbus this month. You will be surprised at the breadth of interests employed by those who work to influence elections and public policy-right down to dictating the clothes on the back of political candidates.

The current political season is not the only reason we wanted to sit down this month with Mayor Mike Coleman for an in-depth Q&A. He is celebrating his 60th birthday-a good time to look back on his long-running tenure as the city's chief executive, and to look ahead on a political career that is far from over. Just for the record, the mayor's big day is Nov. 18. Happy birthday, Mayor Mike!

Of course, politicians and lobbyists aren't the only ones whose work is all about the art of persuasion. That's what marketers do as well, and the company we are spotlighting this month has taken it to a new level. They call themselves Cult Marketing because they work to create followers for their clients that are nothing short of fanatics. It all starts with the research they conduct to get into the minds and hearts of their clients' customers.

Every month, we work to bring you, our readers, our best in-depth coverage and insights of business trends and developments in Columbus. And this month, we are grateful for the feedback you have shared as to what deserves recognition as the Best of Business in and around our city.

We invited readers earlier this year to participate in an open-ended poll asking about your favorites in a full range of business and professional-service categories. From the recommended accountants who crunch your numbers to the favorite architects who design your buildings, from the best place for a power breakfast to the top locale for after-work drinks-it's all here in more than 90 listings.

To make our Best of Business listings easier to navigate, we've organized the winners and runners-up in 10 new categories. Use them to find professionals, suppliers and vendors to help your business to be its best or to obtain the rewards you've earned-like a round of golf at the best private or public course, maybe?

And speaking of best, Columbus CEO Assistant Editor Kitty McConnell has some bragging rights to share. She won Best Business Reporting honors for a body of work submitted for Ohio's Best Journalism 2014 awards presented by the Central Ohio, Cincinnati and Cleveland chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. We're so proud!