Rural Minnesota is likely to be the deciding ground in November for the intense campaign over a proposed constitutional amendment to ban marriage for same-sex couples.
Advocates on both sides are aware that voters away from major population centers have played the crucial role in the outcomes of similar ballot initiatives in other states, and are deploying their resources to all points of Minnesota.
Minnesotans United For All Families, the group opposing the amendment, has deployed paid staffers across the state, with offices in Duluth, Rochester and soon Mankato.
Meanwhile, amendment supporters are engaging in a methodical outreach in rural areas, particularly toward churches and socially conservative groups. They say they already have pinpointed 65,000 strong supporters.