Jared Polis Becomes Nation’s First Openly Gay Governor After Winning Race In Colorado

Polis supports a single payer form of healthcare as well as moving Colorado toward 100 percent renewable energy.

Colorado Governor-elect Jared Polis.
Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

Polis supports a single payer form of healthcare as well as moving Colorado toward 100 percent renewable energy.

Elections returns in Colorado indicate that Jared Polis, the Democratic candidate in the race, has defeated his Republican opponent Walker Stapleton.

Polis, a member of the House of Representatives who hails from Boulder, is openly gay, and his win tonight makes him the first openly gay governor in the history of the United States, according to reporting from Colorado Public Radio.

Polis has been a member of Congress since 2009, winning his seat in the same year that former President Barack Obama won his first term in office. Polis ran his campaign promoting some very ambitious liberal ideas.

For instance, the governor-elect supports a single payer system of healthcare, and has indicated he will work with other governors in western states to push for the plan. “I won’t give up until we’ve achieved a way to save people money and provide a universal basic level of care,” Polis said in September.

He also supports a path toward changes in energy consumption, and hopes to move his state toward 100 percent renewable energy by the year 2040. Polis has promoted the idea as one that could be good for his state’s economy as well.

“This transition will create good green jobs and save Coloradans money and make us more competitive as a state,” Polis has said.

Polis also won as a candidate who would fight for stricter gun laws in Colorado. It hasn’t always been that way, however: in 2013, as a member of Congress, Polis opposed efforts at banning a wide assortment of weapons on the federal level.

It appears as though his attitudes on guns have changed, as this year he was an original sponsor of a bill to institute such a ban, the Colorado Independent reported. Polis explained that, in his mind, enough was enough.

“As our communities have experienced more and more mass shootings, we cannot ignore the fact that assault weapons are a common theme in almost all of them,” Polis said back in the spring of this year.

As of this reporting, Polis has 51 percent of the total vote in Colorado, with 71 percent of the precincts in the state reporting. Stapleton had 45.5 percent of the vote. Those numbers could fluctuate a bit when all is said and done, but it appears that Polis is the clear winner for this race, according to reporting from the New York Times.

Stapleton called Polis and gave him his congratulations, telling his supporters about his concession.

“I called Congressman Polis and congratulated him. Now is the time for all of use to come together as Coloradans,” Stapleton said.

Seven congressional seats were also up for grabs in Colorado, with none of the state’s two U.S. Senate seats in contention. Of the seven House seats, four went to Democrats and three went to Republicans.