Filing for federal and state offices starts Monday and I'm planning my usual obsessive coverage. It's kinda late to get started on the statewide level, but the bar is pretty low for the legislature (100 signatures for Senate and 50 for House). So last minute surprises and self-starters are possible down-ballot.
While we wait, here's some things to look for:
Statewide and congressional requirements are based on percentage of the vote from 2008. The record turnout raises that bar, and Obama's relatively big win raises it even higher for Dems, who need 4145 signatures for senate and governor. Republicans need 3412. There are county requirements as well. The bar is a lot lower for independents and third parties, who file in July and August: 1500 signatures. (Something that could affect anyone considering a run for governor first as a Democrat, then later as an independent.)
Combine that with the extreme low turnout at the off-year, nearly invisible caucuses, which in presidential years are a quick and dirty way to get signatures, and some folks may be hustling up to the last second.
Speaking of which, the county filing period starts a week later on March 8. Stay tuned for my look at that one.