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Jared Polis Makes History; First Out Gay Man Elected Governor

Jared Polis and Walker Stapleton

Polis easily won election as governor of Colorado.

Jared Polis has won his race for governor of Colorado, becoming the first out gay man to be elected governor of any U.S. state.

MSNBC called the race for Polis about 7:30 p.m. Mountain time. At that point, Polis, a Democrat, had 53 percent of the vote and Republican Walker Stapleton 43 percent, according to the Associated Press.

Polis, currently a congressman, said he decided to run for governor because he believed it would be easier to fight Donald Trump at the state level. His priorities include universal health care, improving public education, and encouraging the development of clean energy.

He makes history as the first openly gay man elected governor. Former New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey was closeted when elected and came out as gay immediately before resigning in 2004 due to an extramarital relationship.

"Tonight, Colorado rejected the Trump-Pence administration's politics of bigotry and fear by choosing bold pro-equality champion Jared Polis, the nation's first openly gay man elected governor," said a statement released by Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, which had endorsed Polis. "For nearly a decade in Congress, Jared Polis fought to advance fairness and equality in Colorado and across America. He 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."

The LGBTQ Victory Fund had also endorsed Polis, making him one of its "Game Changer" candidates, a status that helped bring him national attention. "Generations of LGBTQ advocates have dreamed of the moment when voters would overcome tired stereotypes and elect an openly gay man who stands proudly with his partner and family -- and this is that moment," said a statement released by Victory Fund president and CEO Annise Parker. "Colorado has undergone a transformation that parallels the changing attitudes in the country at large. In just 25 years, Colorado went from being labeled a 'hate state' for its anti-LGBTQ voter-approved ballot initiative to becoming the first state in the nation to elect an openly gay governor. This is the evolution we will fight for in states all throughout the country -- both red and blue -- because we know voters are ready to support authentic, values-driven LGBTQ candidates who speak to the issues that matter most. Jared shattered a lavender ceiling in Colorado, but its effect will extend well-beyond the state's borders."

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