In case you haven't heard — and even the candidates say it doesn't seem to have registered with many people yet — there's an election Tuesday.

On Sept. 14 Republicans and Democrats, along with independents, will go to the polls to select the major-party candidates in several statewide, regional and legislative races.

Here in Haverhill, the most-watched primary contest is among four Republican and two independent candidates, one of whom will emerge victorious to challenge Democrat Niki Tsongas, the congresswoman who represents the city as part of Massachusetts' 5th District.

The four Republicans — Jon Golnik, Sam Meas, Bob Shapiro and Tom Weaver — and two independents — Dale Brown and Bob Clark — have run issues-oriented campaigns that have focused far more on the woman each hopes to replace than on how each man differs from or is better than his primary opponents.

Another Republican race with Haverhill implications pits Jim Lyons and John Thorlin against each other on the 18th Essex District Republican ballot. Haverhill neighborhoods in the Ayers Village and Bradford sections of the city are part of that district, which is represented by Rep. Barbara L'Italien, an Andover Democrat. The winner of the GOP race will challenge L'Italien in November. Republicans this cycle have done a good job recruiting candidates for the region's state House and Senate seats.

However, Haverhill state Rep. Brian Dempsey, whose district encompasses most of the city, is guaranteed another term unless a Republican challenger comes out of the woodwork post-primary and runs a miraculous write-in campaign.

Statewide, there are contests for both the Democratic and Republican nominations for state auditor, as well as a race for the Democratic nomination for treasurer.

So while the number of contests is limited, there's reason for all, regardless of political stripe or place of residence, to go to the polls Tuesday. Besides, it's good practice for Nov. 2 when there will be a race for governor and several key ballot questions to be decided.

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