• “American Idol” runner-up Clay Aiken may have finished second again — this time in his bid to unseat GOP Rep. Renee Ellmers in the 2nd District congressional race — but he did win a reality show. Esquire TV announced it will broadcast a four-episode series recounting Aiken’s bid for Congress. The show should air in January.

• Ellmers says the Republican-led 114th Congress will work on a specific policy agenda and urge President Obama to work with the legislative branch.

• One unexpected consequence of the General Assembly’s move a decade ago to make judicial races nonpartisan and the recent law ending straight-ticket voting: A larger percentage of voters are making picks in judicial contests. N.C. Voter Guide notes that this year’s drop-off in balloting between the U.S. Senate race and judicial elections ranged between 13 percent and 16 percent, roughly 10 percentage point lowers than in 2012, when voters could cast straight-ticket ballots.

• Defeated members of Congress, including Sen. Kay Hagan, get a nice consolation prize: guaranteed pensions. Hagan’s annual pension amounts to $17,400 — 10 percent of her annual salary. Lawmakers with longer tenure can collect as much as 80 percent of their salaries. The pension payments also rise along with inflation, unlike the defined contribution (401(k)-style) plans most private-sector workers receive.