LITTLE ROCK — The curtain formally goes up today on a 2014 election season featuring crowded primary fields for top statewide offices.

LITTLE ROCK — The curtain formally goes up today on a 2014 election season featuring crowded primary fields for top statewide offices.

The one-week political filing period runs through noon, March 3, for 265 federal, state, district and non-partisan judicial positions up for election this year. The primary election is May 20 and the general election is Nov. 4.

"Candidate filing is an exciting time at the Capitol," said Secretary of State Mark Martin. "The staff has worked hard to make sure everything flows smoothly."

With no race for president on the ballot, the focus this year will be on the race for U.S. Senate, as well as statewide races, including the governor’s race, where two former congressman have announced their candidacies.

All seven constitutional offices are up for election this year, along with all 100 House seats, 18 Senate seats and all four of the state’s U.S. House seats.

U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., is seeking re-election to a third term against presumptive challenger, U.S. Rep. Rep. Tom Cotton, R-Dardanelle, in one of the most hotly contested races in the nation.

Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, is prohibited by term limits from seeking re-election and two former congressmen, Republican Asa Hutchinson and Democrat Mike Ross, have announced they are seeking the office.

Hutchinson, who expected to file Monday afternoon, was first elected to represent Arkansas’ 3rd Congressional District in 1996. He served until 2001, when he was appointed head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration by then-President George W. Bush.

He also has served as U.S. attorney for the Western District of Arkansas, chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas, and undersecretary for border and transportation security at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Little Rock businessman Curtis Coleman also has announced for governor in the Republican Primary.

Ross served 12 years in Congress representing the expansive 4th District in southern and western Arkansas. He chose not to run for re-election in 2012.

In the lieutenant governor’s race, former state highway commissioner John Burkhalter of Little Rock has announced his candidacy for the Democratic Party nomination. Congressman Tim Griffin, R-Little Rock, who announced recently he would not seek re-election, said recently that he plans to run for lieutenant governor in the Republican primary. State Rep. Debra Hobbs of Rogers and state Rep. Andy Mayberry of Woodson, have also announced they plan to seek the Republican nomination for lieutenant governor.

The office became vacant on Feb. 1 when Republican Mark Darr resigned after being fined $11,000 by the state Ethics Commission for misuse of campaign contributions and taxpayer money.

One Democrat and two Republicans have announced for attorney general.

The Democrat is Rep. Nate Steel of Nashville and the Republicans are Leslie Rutledge of Little Rock and David Sterling of North Little Rock. Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, a Democrat, can’t seek re-election because of term limits.

In the state auditor’s race, two Republicans have announced, including state Rep. Andrea Lea of Russellville, Ken Yang, former Family Council spokesman, of Benton. Democrat Regina Hampton, who has worked in the office for 12 years, has announced her candidacy. State Auditor Charlie Daniels is not seeking re-election.

Two Republicans have announced for state treasurer, Rep. Duncan Baird, R-Lowell, and Dennis Milligan, circuit clerk of Saline County. Treasurer Martha Shoffner, a Democrat, resigned last year after being indicted on federal bribery charges. Charles Robinson, former director of the state Division of Legislative Audit, was named state treasurer by the governor and he can’t seek election to the post this fall.

In the secretary of state’s race, Democrat Susan Inman of Little Rock has announced her candidacy against Martin, who is seeking re-election.

No one has announced to run against John Thurston, a Republican.