Like college students submitting last-minute classwork, candidates scurried to the Minnesota secretary of state's office to file their official paperwork before Tuesday's deadline.
The close of filing highlights a few trends that will keep voters watching through the year:
U.S. House primaries
Voters in August will decide which Democrat will challenge U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack, a Republican, for northern Minnesota's Eighth District and which Republican will challenge U.S. Rep. Tim Walz, a Democrat, for southern Minnesota's First District. Republicans Allen Quist and Mike Parry are vying to take on Walz; DFLers Rick Nolan, Tarryl Clark and Jeff Anderson are battling over who will run against Cravaack. Neither Cravaack nor Walz has primary challenges.
Five sitting members of the U.S. House -- Republicans John Kline, Michele Bachmann and Erik Paulsen and Democrats Betty McCollum and Keith Ellison -- will have primaries. None of the challengers to those five has raised significant resources or has large a campaign organization.
Rep. Connie Doepke, R-Orono, will run for state Senate against the GOP-endorsed candidate, David Osmek.
Rep. Steve Smith, R-Mound, will run for his seat in a primary against Republican-endorsed Cindy Pugh. Smith, trying for an 11th term, lost his committee chairmanships last session and failed to get endorsement.
There is a three-way DFL race to replace retiring Rep. Tom Rukavina of Virginia.
Deputy Senate Majority Leader Julianne Ortman, of Chanhassen, will face off in a Republican primary against Bruce Schwichtenberg. Neither has GOP endorsement.
DFL Sen. John Harrington, after being passed over for endorsement, recently announced his retirement, triggering a four-way primary in St. Paul to replace him.
Up and out
Thirty-six legislators have opted not to run for another term. Nine House members are trying to move up to the state Senate.
Nine people want to be Minnesota's next U.S. senator. U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a Democrat, will face off against three challengers in an August primary: fugitive felon Jack Shepard, who lives in Rome, and Dick Franson, who has run for more than two dozen offices and only won once -- for Minneapolis alderman in the 1960s, and Darryl Stanton, who was DFL endorsed a decade ago to run against then-U.S. Rep. Jim Ramstad, a Republican. Stanton, who was the last person to file for office Tuesday, said he wanted to run as an independent but lacked the needed signatures so decided to run as a DFLer. Republican-endorsed candidate Kurt Bills, a state representative, faces a three-way primary with Bob Carney, a frequent candidate, and David Carlson, who has run for the Legislature before. Glen Menze, who has run against Democratic U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson as a Republican, is running with the Independence Party, as is Stephen Williams, whose campaign website says he is running for lieutenant governor.
Four lawmakers are living the dream of every candidate: Sen. Kathy Sheran, DFL-Mankato; Rep. Mike Nelson, DFL-Brooklyn Park; Rep. Joe Hoppe, R-Chaska, and Rep. Tony Cornish, R-Good Thunder, drew no opponents.
Rachel E. Stassen-Berger Twitter: @rachelsb