The 2018 United States Midterm elections has seen the first ever openly gay man elected as governor of a US state. Jared Polis, aged 43, has defeated his Republican opponent Walker Stapleton to win the state of Colorado.
Polis was previously the first openly gay first-year congressman elected when he joined the house in 2008. Polis joins Oregon Governor Kate Brown as the second LGBTIQ person to be voted as a state governor. Brown, who identifies as bisexual, took office in 2015.
The Governor-elect has been open about his sexuality throughout his political career, emphasizing his campaign’s distinction from the less inclusive tone of the Republican party.
Polis’ historic milestone came amid a night of ground-breaking electoral moments, including the election of the first Muslim candidates to congress, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar.
Polis won the historic election with 51.6% of the vote, after a campaign during which he championed causes such as universal health care, gun violence prevention, and moving Colorado towards 100% renewable energy. The win is particular significant in light of Colorado’s reputation as a ‘Hate State’ – a name given to it after voters there passed a constitutional amendment in 1992 to prevent the creation of protections for the LGBTIQ community.