Filing deadlines wait for no one, even in a time of pandemic. So Rhode Island’s General Assembly races are shaping up, even if a little more information is expected to dribble in by the close of Friday. Here’s a look at some of the most notable elements of Rhode Island’s 2020 legislative campaign season.

1) As much as people love to talk about how politics is a sport in Rhode Island (and a theme park for reporters – thank you, Elliot Jaspin), the fact is that a large percentage of General Assembly races go uncontested every two years. Whether by coincidence or incumbent strength, about 26 of 75 reps and 12 of 38 senators have a free ride to the opening day of the 2021 session. (Perhaps we’ll even have a COVID-19 vaccine by then).

Those without a challenger thus far include Reps. Edith Ajello, Scott Slater (all Providence Democrats); Charlene Lima and Art Handy (both Cranston Democrats, David Bennett and Joseph Shekarchi (all Warwick Democrats), Sherry Roberts (R-West Greenwich), Robert Craven (North Kingstown Democrats), Carol Hagan McEntee (D-Narragansett), House GOP Leader Blake Filippi of New Shoreham, Greg Costantino (D-Lincolin), Mia Ackerman (D-Cumberland), David Place (R-Burrillville), Brian Newberry (R-North Smithfield), Stephen Casey and Robert Phillips (Woonsocket Democrats), William O’Brien and Arthur Corvese (both North Providence Democrats), Joshua Giraldo (D-Central Falls), Jim McLaughlin (D-Cumberland), Jean Barros (D-Pawtucket), Gregg Amore (D-East Providence), Liana Cassar (D-Providence), Jason Knight (D-Barrington), and House Finance Chairman Marvin Abney (D-Newport).

In the Senate: Sen. Ana Quezada, Gayle Goldin, Frank Ciccone (all Providence Democrats), Jim Seveney (D-Portsmouth), Louis DiPalma (D-Middletown), Dawn Euer (D-Newport), Ryan Pearson (D-Cumberland), Roger Picard (D-Woonsocket, Gordon Rogers (R-Foster), Melissa Murray (D-Woonsocket), Frank Lombardo (D-Johnston), and Cynthia Coyne (D-Barrington).

2) The big enchiladas of big enchiladas is Republican Barbara Ann Fenton-Fung’s challenge to Democratic House Speaker Nicholas Mattiello for the rep seat he holds in a Trump-friendly Cranston district. Steven Frias almost unseated Mattiello in 2016, and Fenton-Fung is shaping up as a strong challenger. Of course, Mattiello also has many assets at his disposal, even as speculation continues about possible fallout from a grand jury probe into the Convention Center. The outcome of this November battle will decide nothing less than whether the General Assembly remains on a status quo course, more or less, or whether the apple cart has been tossed over to draw up things anew.

3) The central point of the previous item notwithstanding, primaries are where the action is when progressives try to dismantle establishment Democrats’ hold on Smith Hill. In years past, the Rhode Island faction of the Working Families Party has spurred progressive gains, even helping Rep. Marcia Ranglin-Vassell (D-Providence) to knock off then-House Majority Leader John DeSimone in 2016 The Rhode Island Political Cooperative, which emerged on the scene last year, is now running a slate of 24 candidates, most of them for the legislature. Some of these progressive challengers may not have the ground game, name recognition or money necessary to oust incumbents. But the Rhode Island Senate took note when the Co-op coalesced last year, and after years of waxing and waning, the progressive presence (as well as that of female lawmakers) has been on the uptick in both chambers, contributing mightily to the bill protecting abortion rights that became law last year. It won’t be a surprise if progs make some more gains this year.

4) The progs scored a win when Superior Court Judge Mary McElroy ruled Thursday that signatures to qualify for the ballot (50 for the House, 100 for the Senate) can be collected electronically in our pandemic age.

5) On the other side of the ideological spectrum, it’s worth noting how the two co-chairs for President Donald Trump’s RI campaign – former North Kingstown Rep. Doreen Costa and businessman (and former Democrat) Jerry Zarrella – are gunning for legislative seats. Costa is part of the field seeking to win the seat being vacated by Sen. James Sheehan (D-North Kingstown). Zarrella is part of a rare GOP primary, challenging Rep. Justin Price (R-Exeter), because, Zarrella tells me, he believes Rhode Islanders need a stronger pro-business voice at the Statehouse.

6) With Trump dominating the national GOP, the outlook for Rhody Republicans is about the same as usual – which is to say, challenging. We’ll take a look at specific races deeper in campaign season. For now, Republicans hold just 9 of 75 House seats (and Rep. Jack Lyle is running as an independent) and 5 of 38 Senate seats.

7) While some of the former lawmakers seeking a return to Smith Hill have public service bona fides, the sheer number of “boomerang candidates” is highly unusual. Close to 10 ex-reps and senators are trying to find their way back to the Statehouse, including former reps Patricia Morgan, Scott Guthrie, Mary Ann Shallcross-Smith, Anthony Giarrusso, David Coughlin, and Ken Mendonca, former senator Jeanine Calkin, and former rep and senator Paul Moura.

8) You don’t see this every day: two sons of current reps are running for the General Assembly. Jay G. Edwards V, a Tiverton town councilor, is vying with prog Michelle McGaw for the seat left vacant by the exit of Dennis Canario. Robert E. Craven, the son of Rep. Craven, is part of the field running for the seat being left vacant by Sen. James Sheehan of North Kingstown.

9) Odds and ends: Rep. Stephen Ucci (D-Johnston), who recently became general counsel for an employee-owned company in New Hampshire, is signing off after first having won election to the House in 2004 …. Former RI GOP chairman Mark Smiley is challenging Sen. Walter Felag (D-Warren) …. Jackie Baginski, who has been on the finance side of campaigns is gunning for the seat held by Robert Jacquard (D-Cranston.)