The debate over gay marriage continues to drive the Iowa GOP campaign to regain the Governor's mansion.

When primary voters shunned the anti-gay marriage rhetoric of Bob Vander Plaats, opting instead to nominate former Governor Terry Branstad as their GOP pick, the issued appeared settled.

But while Vander Plaats was the contest's most vocal opponent of the 2009 Iowa Supreme Court ruling that legalized gay marriage in the state, Branstad, a moderate Republican who believes in limited gay rights, is also opposed to the institution.

His pick of state Senator Kim Reynolds as his running mate is seen as a play for more socially conservative voters who supported the candidacy of Vander Plaats.

Reynolds says she's a “pro-life, and … pro-family” candidate.

She's already been dispatched to counties where Vander Plaats showed strength in the June Republican primary.

“In some of the counties that the governor (Branstad) didn't carry I'm gonna try to get out there and meet with them and just talk to them and listen to them, give them an opportunity to get to know me,” Reynolds told The Iowa Independent.

She said she would be open to the idea of civil unions for gay couples.

“We could take a look at civil unions. There are other options maybe that I would be in favor of looking at.”

But she added that she would vote against gay marriage.

“But the bottom line is this is an extremely important issue, and I believe that Iowans have a right to speak on that,” she said.

Social conservatives continue to vocally express their disappointment with Democrats who've blocked attempts by Republicans to begin the process of putting the question of a gay marriage ban before voters.

With Reynolds on board, Branstad appears to have found a strategy to reach gay marriage opponents without directly campaigning on the issue.