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Are Democrats doing enough to reach rural voters?

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Americans Go To The Polls To Elect The Next U.S. P
A sign at an intersection directs people to vote in the U.S. presidential election on November 4, 2008 just outside the rural township of San Francisco, Minn.
Cory Ryan | Getty Images

Do Democrats have much to say to rural Americans? One of the tests for that question is in Minnesota's First District, which Democratic congressman Tim Walz represented before he decided to run for governor.

The district encompasses Rochester, but also includes 21 counties, many of them rural. Can a Democrat speak the language of today's rural Minnesota? And rural America as a whole?

Democratic strategist Jeff Blodgett recently suggested to MinnPost that in a statewide election, DFLers should focus on the cities, because that's where the votes are. "It's definitely not just about Minneapolis and St. Paul," Blodgett said. "It's about the first- and second- and third-ring suburbs as well, and yeah, those suburban districts, the further out you get the more swing it becomes."

MPR News host Kerri Miller asked Philip Chen, assistant professor of political science at Beloit College, and MPR News reporter Brian Bakst to weigh in on Democrats' strategies for reaching rural voters, and whether Republicans have done a better job at looking out for the interests of this group.

Use the audio player above to hear the full segment.