North Carolina takes its first steps toward the November election Monday.
It's the first day candidates can begin filing for everything from Congress to judges to county boards. The state is also looking at selecting a new governor and lieutenant governor for the first time in eight years.
Republican Sen. Elizabeth Dole faces her first re-election challenge.
Two factors in this year's election will be the growth of both the state and the number of independent, or unaffiliated voters.
North Carolina's population has grown nearly 13 percent since 2000. The percentage of unaffiliated voters has grown from 16 percent to about 21 percent.