A sea of lawmakers, staffers and campaign advisers filled Oregon's House of Representatives Tuesday to watch officials add names to the lists of candidates running for office in 2014.
Would-be candidates had until 5 p.m. to file with the Secretary of State's office or they won't appear on the May 20 primary ballot.
When the dust settled, 24 state lawmakers lacked a challenger from the opposing party. In the House, 14 Democrats and five Republicans are running unopposed. And in the Senate, the count stood at four unchallenged Democrats and one Republican.
Here's some of the contested state, county and city races the Statesman Journal will be watching in 2014:
Governor's Race: Gov. John Kitzhaber is asking Oregonians to give him an unprecedented fourth term in office. With Allen Alley out of the picture, state Rep. Dennis Richardson, R-Central Point, has emerged as the likeliest of the six candidates vying for the Republican Party's nomination.
U.S. Senate: Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley should easily secure his party's primary nomination, but the Republican primary is shaping up to be a fight to the finish between state Rep. Jason Conger, R-Bend, and Portland physician Monica Wehby.
Three other Republicans candidates filed for the May 20 primary election, but their fundraising lags significantly behind the two frontrunners.
U.S. House: Rep. Kurt Schrader's district narrowly favors the Democratic incumbent, and he's drawn a well-known Republican challenger in Clackamas County Commissioner Tootie Smith.
Oregon Senate: Democrats and Republicans are looking at a few key races that could determine which party controls the Senate for the 2015 and 2016 Legislative sessions. Democrats currently hold a slim 16-14 majority.
A key race for the control of the Senate is Rep. Sara Gelser, D-Corvallis, against incumbent Sen. Betsy Close, R-Albany.
Close was appointed to Senate District 8 in 2012 when former Sen. Frank Morse resigned, so this is her first campaign for re-election to the Senate. Democrats hold just about a 9 percent registration advantage in the district.
"In 2014, Senate Democrats have an excellent slate of candidates whose victories in November will expand our majority in the Oregon Senate," Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum, D-Portland, said in a statement.
Of the 10 Democratic incumbent senators running for re-election, four of them face no Republican opposition.
Republicans think they have a chance to retake Sen. Alan Bates' seat. Bates, D-Medford, narrowly eked out a re-election win against Dave Dotterer in 2010.
Dotterer, who is trying for the seat again, has said public disdain for the mishandling of Cover Oregon could tip the scales in his favor.
Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, has no primary challenger, but the long-term lawmaker has drawn a well-known Republican challenger, Marion County Commissioner Patti Milne.
Courtney and the Democrats have an 11 percent registration advantage in Senate District 11.
Oregon House: The retirement of Rep. Vicki Berger, R-Salem, has left her once safe seat in House District 20 up for grabs. Berger won nearly 63 percent of the votes in the 2012 election, but voters in her district also chose to re-elect President Barack Obama.
Paul Evans, of Monmouth, is the only Democrat to file by Tuesday's deadline, while the Republicans have four candidates vying for the nomination: Karl Erikson, Kathy Goss, Terrence Taylor, all from Salem, and James Owens, of Independence.
"It's the ultimate swing seat," House Majority Leader Val Hoyle, D-Eugene, said.
In House District 25, which is considered a conservative stronghold, the Statesman will be watching the primary race between Keizer radio talk show host Bill Post and long-time public employee Barbara Jensen.
With no Democrat filed to run, the May primary likely will decide who will replace Berger in 2015.
Republican candidates are facing off in 13 contested primaries this May. Rep. Vic Gilliam, R-Silverton, and Rep. Jim Thompson, R-Dallas, both are facing primary challengers.
"There's a split in the Republican Party," Hoyle said, noting the recent divide on same-sex marriage.
House Minority Leader Mike McLane, R-Powell Butte, disagreed.
"That's what the primary elections are about," McLane said. "I think we have a very good slate of candidates."
Salem City Council: Nine candidates for Salem City Council submitted completed petitions to run in the May primary. It's the largest field of council candidates in a primary election since 1998, when 14 people were in the running, said Salem City Recorder Kathy Hall.
Seats in four wards are open in this election. All four wards have at least two contenders in the running. Three candidates are competing to represent Southeast Salem's Ward 2.
Four current city councilors have bowed out of the race: West Salem's Dan Clem, Ward 2 Councilor Laura Tesler, Ward 4 Councilor Rich Clausen and Ward 6 Councilor Sheryl Thomas.
Meanwhile, Salem Mayor Anna Peterson is running unopposed.
Marion and Polk counties: Three of four incumbent commissioners up for election in Marion and Polk counties will face challengers in the May 20 primary.
Marion County Commissioner Janet Carlson, who is seeking a fourth four-year term, has an opponent in the Republican primary. Kim Brady, of Salem, who works at SAIF Corp., filed to take on Carlson this May.
For the Marion County commissioner position being vacated by Patti Milne, state Rep. Kevin Cameron, R-Salem, is the lone Republican filer. Salem City Councilor Diana Dickey is the lone Democratic filer.
Polk County Commissioners Mike Ainsworth and Craig Pope, both of Monmouth, are seeking second terms. Ainsworth has one challenger, and Pope two.