If you can believe voters on the Internet, Duluth is a better town than Minneapolis — at least as far as outdoorsy people are concerned.
Duluth boosters flooded an online contest to promote the Lake city in a national Outside magazine battle of best towns.
With more than 60,000 votes (70 percent of its population), Duluth scored at least 10,000 more votes than any other city in the fourth round, which ended Tuesday night. It was crowned champion of the Midwest region, defeating Minneapolis with 60,210 votes to 40,530.
It was enough to make a mayor proud.
"It's a fun contest," Duluth Mayor Don Ness said Wednesday. "I don't think there's any question that Duluthians are taking this a lot more seriously and putting more stake into this contest than Minneapolis had or some of the other cities." Duluth, now in the final four, got a voting push from a #VoteDuluth campaign on social media, with the nonprofit Destination Duluth its primary promoter.
Now it faces off against the winner of the South: Asheville, N.C. The other contenders are Provo, Utah, and Ithaca, N.Y.
Duluth enthusiasts hope former voters for Minneapolis will find it in their hearts to join them.
"Now that we are representing the entire Midwest in this contest, … we want to demonstrate to the rest of the nation that the Midwest isn't just flyover country for outdoor recreation, but we have some world-class experiences to offer," Ness said.
Voters have until 11 p.m. CST on Sunday to vote at www.outsideonline.com.