Colorado voters made history election night by choosing Jared Polis to become the state’s next governor. Polis was riding to a comfortable victory over Republican Walker Stapleton and two minor party candidates.
Polis came to the race with eight years of experience in Congress and deep pockets, having made a fortune in the tech industry. He campaigned as an unrepentant progressive, a sharp departure from outgoing governor John Hickenlooper, who consciously positioned himself as a hard-core moderate.
Polis’s election underscores Colorado’s shift from a conservative bent to a liberal one. He campaigned on a single-payer health care system and state-funded all-day preschool.
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The race wasn’t without its low points. Close to election day, bumper stickers appeared in one rural community, with a message over rainbow-striped images, including a puckered set of lips, that read, “Don’t Vote for Jerod [sic] Polis or He’ll Love Your Ass.”
Polis’s victory is both insult and injury to the religious right, which has had a strong hold on the state. The anti-LGBTQ hate group Focus on the Family is based there, and 26 years ago conservative Christians passed a statewide measure to prohibit anti-discrimination measures. (The Supreme Court ultimately overturned the measure.)
Polis “is a proven leader who will take his commitment to securing full equality to the governor’s mansion and fight to make Colorado a stronger and more inclusive state,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement.
That’s not all Polis will be taking to the governor’s mansion. His husband and two children will be coming along as well.
DNC Chair Tom Perez congratulated Polis on his historic victory, saying, “We’ve come a long way as a nation in our march toward LGBTQ equality, and none of our progress would have been possible without the courage of the countless LGBTQ organizers and activists who marched for it, refused to back down, and demanded a seat at the table. Jared will continue building on that progress and inspiring future leaders to break down barriers in every community.”