MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Forget the presidential race, the campaigns for Congress or the legislature. The price tag of the marriage amendment campaign topped them all.

New numbers from the state show the number is bigger than many races for Governor or the U.S. Senate. Minnesota voters became the first in the nation to vote down a gay marriage ban in the Constitution.

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The fight to ban gay marriage saw angry protest, heated debate and wall-to-wall television commercials. And now we know It was the priciest election fight of 2012.

$18 million total.

$12.4 million for Vote No groups opposing the amendment.

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$5.6 million for the Vote Yes group that promoted it.

Richard Carlbom ran the successful fight to defeat the gay marriage ban. Now he’s pivoting to another goal: legalizing gay marriage in Minnesota this year.

“On Election Day, our lawn signs said it, blaze orange lawn signs across the state: ‘Should we limit the freedom to marry?’ And on Election Day, Minnesotans said ‘no,'” Carlbom said.

At the State Capitol, gay marriage is still a potent political topic. Republicans – who lost their majority – are urging caution, saying the vote against a gay marriage ban is different from a law to legalize it. Rep. Jennifer Loon, the deputy minority leader, says the conversation is not over.

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“I’ve heard a number of times from some of the new leaders about wanting to have a conversation with Minnesota. I think that was started, but certainly a lot more to be talked about in that area,” Loon said.