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CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS2/FOX28) Less than a week before Iowas Primary Elections, candidates are making their final pitches to voters. This year, two big eastern Iowa races a will be without incumbents seeking re-election.
It all starts with Senator Tom Harkin retiring. Congressman Bruce Braley is leaving his House of Representatives seat hoping to replace Senator Harkin, leaving Braleys seat wide open. Voters say that creates a political vacuum and means more people are drawn into the political process.
"It's a very big year, said Sarah Stutler. A very big year of change. I think there's a lot of energy around that change."
Its the first time since the mid 1980s that a Senate seat has been without an incumbent, thanks to Senators Harkin and Grassley being two of the most senior members in that chamber.
"I think it energizes people of both parties as well as independents and no party and the fringe parties as well, said Joe Stutler.
On the other side of Congress, redistricting in 2010 for Iowas seats in the House of Representatives means there hasnt been much change-over there either.
"I think if you were saying the last time it was open, I was probably in elementary school, said Sara Riley.
That means the June primaries set the stage for a very interesting November.
"When you have an open seat, no matter where you are, people want to run," said Riley.
Voters say an energetic primary field, with nearly ten candidates making their case for the 1st District House seat, and with the Senate race getting national attention, makes it all that much more wide open.
"More people are paying attention because there is no solid candidate on either side," said Joe.
But Joes a veteran, and he says the civic duty that voters have to cast their ballots is just as important as when he put on a uniform.
"We have the right to vote, but we also have the responsibility to vote, said Joe. We are responsible for our government. We are 'We the People."
Joe says hes happy the Senate race in Iowa is getting national attention and that more people are getting engaged in the political process because of it. But he says hes also disappointed that its bringing national money to what should be uniquely Iowan.