Raleigh, N.C. — The 2014 election officially gets underway Monday as the candidate filing period opens at noon.
Many candidates for U.S. Senate, the General Assembly, appellate courts and certain county offices have been raising money and taking jabs at their would-be opponents for month now. But Monday is their first opportunity to officially put their names on the ballot.
The only partisan statewide election on the ballot is the U.S. Senate race, in which Democratic incumbent Kay Hagan will attempt to keep her job. Republicans will choose Hagan's challenger in the May 6 primary. House Speaker Thom Tillis, Dr. Greg Brannon of Cary and Rev. Mark Harris of Charlotte are the best-known contenders in the GOP field.
Races to replace four of the state's seven Supreme Court justices will also be on the statewide ballot. Although the political affiliation of the candidates in those races are well known and parties often participate in the elections, they are nominally nonpartisan.
North Carolina's 13 U.S. House seats are also all up for election, with the 2nd Congressional District seat currently held by Republican Renee Ellmers making national news earlier this month. That's where Clay Aiken, a singer and former "American Idol" contestant, has said he will enter the Democratic primary against former state Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco.
Voters will also select all 50 seats in the state Senate and 120 state House seats. On the county level, voters throughout the state will be selecting candidates for a variety of offices, including sheriffs, district attorneys and county commissioners.
The candidate filing period closes at noon Feb. 28.