Jared Polis, an openly gay 43-year-old father of three, won his election against his Republican challenger last night in Colorado's race for governor. The victory will make him the first openly gay man (and first gay dad!) to lead a state. (Kate Brown, the openly bisexual Governor of Oregon, is the only openly LGBTQ person to win election to a state's highest Executive office in the country.)
Polis, who was first elected to represent Colorado's Second Congressional District in 2008, and served as co-chairman of the LGBT Equality Caucus in that body, is no stranger to making history. In 2011, when he and his partner Marlon Reis announced the birth of their son, Caspian Julius, Polis became the first openly gay parent to serve in the United States Congress. The couple welcomed a daughter, named Cora, in 2014.
Despite making history in this way, Polis and his husband have thus far kept private about their family, declining to state publicly whether their children were adopted or born via surrogacy.
Polis, who already beat out a crowded field of fellow Democrats vying for the state's top position, was seen as a strong contender as soon as he entered the race. He has been among the state's more popular Representatives, consistently winning reelection with comfortable margins. Also, thanks to several successful internet ventures prior to his turn as a public servant, he is one of the top 10 wealthiest members of Congress, meaning he's had plenty of cash on hand for his campaign.
Over 240 LGBTQ candidates ran for office this year, which is an unprecedented number. Besides Polis, several of those candidates went on to win office. Democrat Sharice Davids won her race for Congress in Kansas, becoming the first Native American and the first LBGTQ person to represent the state. Democrat Chris Pappas likewise became New Hampshire's first gay congressman after winning his election last night.
Congrats to Governor-elect Polis and to all of the LGBTQ candidates who helped make history this year!