Jared Polis has become the United States' first openly gay governor, according to a report by CBS News.
The Colorado governor's race has been reliably called in favor of Polis, though tallies are still trickling in. At the time of this writing, Polis holds 738,026 votes, or 51 percent of the electorate. His opponent, Republican Walker Stapleton, has 651,364 votes, or 45 percent, meaning that there are not enough votes remaining for him to turn it around.
Polis is 43 years old, and has served five terms as a congressman for the state of Colorado. He is also an entrepreneur in the field of technology, co-founding business such as internet access provider AIS, electronic greeting card website bluemountain.com and online florist ProFlowers.com. Stapleton, meanwhile, is a two-term state treasurer, who allied himself publicly with President Donald Trump.
Polis promised the people of Colorado he would stand up to the president wherever possible, especially on the issue of health care. He campaigned on the promise of keeping the Affordable Care Act, i.e. Obamacare, intact in the state, and even spoke about taking universal health care even further. He also focused heavily on publicly funded preschool and kindergarten, rebuilding infrastructure like roads and pushing renewable energy.
Stapleton swore that all of those and more of Polis' plans would bankrupt the state of Colorado. Many supporters took that claim seriously considering Stapleton's background in economics and finances. However, many speculate that his affiliation with President Trump doomed him in the highly progressive state.
President Trump endorsed Stapleton. Stapleton, in turn, praised the president's elimination of tax penalties for people without health insurance. With health care on the forefront of voters' mind, Stapleton's biggest promise was to defend the expanded Medicaid program that a quarter of Colorado citizens rely on. Stapleton also condemned the practice of "sanctuary cities," and seemed to be aligned with the president on immigration right up until the final weeks of the race.
Of course, Polis' victory is also a symbolic one for the LGBTQ community. He is the first openly gay man to attain the office of governor, though he was one of 26 openly LGBTQ candidates in the 2018 midterm elections. according to a report by CNN, Polis' acceptance speech included a big thanks for his long-time partner, Marlon Reis.
"I want to thank ... my personal support network — first and foremost, of course, my amazing partner, and the first 'first man' in the history of Colorado, Marlon Reis," he said to resounding applause.