Colorado Congressman Jared Polis made history by becoming the first openly gay man to be elected governor of a U.S. state.
A five-term member of Congress, Polis, a Democrat, beat his Republican rival Walter Stapleton by six points.
Polis was one of several LGBT candidates who ran for governor this cycle, along with Brown in Oregon, Vermont Democrat Christine Hallquist, and Texas Democrat Lupe Valdez.
Polis joins Oregon Gov. Kate Brown as the second LGBTQ person to be voted a state governor. Brown, who identifies as bisexual, took office in 2015.
Polis took 51.6% of the vote, with 84% of precincts reporting, after a campaign during which he championed progressive causes such as universal health care, renewable energy expansion, and gun violence prevention.
The win is particularly significant in light of Colorado’s reputation as a “Hate State” — a moniker activists gave it after voters there passed a constitutional amendment in 1992 to prevent the creation of protections for the LGBTQ community.
Polis is no stranger to the distinction, having become the first openly gay man elected to the House as a freshman in 2008.
During his gubernatorial bid, Polis has pushed for universal health care, free early childhood education and progressing Colorado to a 100% renewable energy state.
As a freshman, Polis and his spouse, Marlon Reis wrote about their experience as a same-sex couple in Congress years before same-sex marriage was legalized at the federal level.
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