News (USA)

Openly gay congressman Jared Polis cruises to re-election in Colorado

According to the Coloradoan, Jared Polis, an entrepreneur and philanthropist, won re-election Tuesday to the U.S. House. He first won election from Colorado’s Second District in 2008, becoming the first openly gay man to be elected to Congress.

His biggest challenge in 2008 was the Democratic primary in a majority Democratic district that included the Denver suburbs and the city of Boulder. He beat his closest opponent in a three-candidate race by a margin of 42 to 38 percent.

Jared Polis

In the 2008 general election Polis breezed to victory over his Republican rival by a margin of 63 percent to 34 percent in a majority Democratic district known as one of the most liberal areas of the state.

According to the Almanac of American Politics, Polis’s campaign spent $7 million for the primary and general election, with $6 million coming from Polis himself. He won re-election in 2010 over his GOP opponent with 57 percent of the vote.

This year, Polis ran in a newly shaped Second District as a result of redistricting. The revamped district now includes the city of Fort Collins and surrounding Larimar County where the electorate is considered more conservative than the left-leaning Boulder area, which is still part of the district.

When Kevin Lundberg won the Republican primary this year and emerged as Polis’s opponent in the general election, he argued that the newly added section of the district would give him a shot at defeating Polis.

But most political observers in the state said Lundberg’s reputation as a staunch social conservative was still at odds with a majority of the voters in the district. According to a Washington Times profile, Lundberg describes himself as a Christian conservative who frequently quotes biblical passages when engaging in debates on the floor of the State Senate. As someone who called for enforcing the state’s anti-adultery law, Lundberg made it clear that he opposes same-sex marriage as well as civil unions for same-sex couples, the Washington Times profile reports.

Polis received a perfect 100 percent score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard on LGBT issues. He supports same-sex marriage and is a co-sponsor of legislation to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. As an advocate of education reform, Polis introduced a bill in the House to curtail anti-LGBT bulling and discrimination in the nation’s schools.

According to campaign finance reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, Polis’s campaign pulled in $1.1 million as of Oct. 17 compared to $260,000 raised by Lundberg’s campaign.

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