Signs of summer are nearly everywhere the eye ventures to in St. Joseph, Mich. The splash pad near Silver Beach is a main attraction for children celebrating their last few weeks of freedom. Tourists walk the streets of soaking up the warm weather.
But, it is another kind of season that is just starting to heat up.
Michigan voters headed to the polls Tuesday to cast their ballots in the primary election.
People like Lupe Hopp are ready to lay the groundwork for the November races.
"It is important to vote in the primary election because so many offices are available to many different people right now," Hopp said. "And, once it is November, you may not see those names. So, in many ways, I think the primary is more important than regular election."
For certain residents, voting in a primary is just a step they cannot skip even though the results will not put someone in office.
"It's my duty," said voter Elizabeth Karsten. "And, there are those that I want to see in office."
There is one race, in particular, that has captured the attention of many in St. Joseph.
"I have been following most closely the race between Upton and Hoogendyke," voter Jinny Steinman said.
Long-time U.S. Congressman Fred Upton faces challenger Jack Hoogendyke, former state house representative, for the sixth district seat.
People from Niles to South Haven will determine whether it is time for someone new to take the reins.
Still, the turnout at some polling places was slow despite the U.S. representative seat being up for grabs.
"I don't know that in the primary you get the number of voters that you get in the general election," Steinman said. "It's summertime, people are busy and gone...vacationing."
Though the summertime lure may keep some away, there are those who say their civic duty is a full time responsibility.
"I pay attention to politics all year round not just at election time," Hopp said.
The winner in this race will face Democrat Mike O'Brien in November.