Rep. Jared Polis is on the path to becoming America’s first openly gay governor after clinching the Democratic nomination to become Colorado’s next chief executive Tuesday night.
The five-term Colorado congressman beat out three other candidates vying to fill outgoing Gov. John Hickenlooper’s seat.
Polis was first elected to Congress in 2008 and made history as the first openly gay man to win a seat as a non-incumbent. He and his partner Marlon Reis, who are now fathers to two young children, wrote about their experience for CNN in 2009 as a same-sex couple on Capitol Hill.
He emerged as one of the most pro-cannabis politicians in Washington, launching the bipartisan Cannabis Caucus last year and advocating for marijuana to be decriminalized and removed as a Schedule 1 drug. Recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado.
Before working as a legislator, Polis was the founder of a number of successful companies, including florist site Proflowers.com and online greeting card creator Bluemountain.com, making him a millionaire and one of the wealthiest members of Congress.
A Boulder native, Polis’ first win to elected office was in 2000 to the Colorado State Board of Education.
In gunning for the statehouse this election, Polis is pushing for Colorado to have universal health care, free kindergarten and preschool, and progress to a 100% renewable energy state.
Polis won Tuesday’s primary with about 44% of the vote. He will go on to face Colorado state treasurer Walker Stapleton in the November election.
“While it is a historic and promising night for the LGBTQ community, primary voters chose Jared not because he could be a historic first, but because of his unquestionable integrity and positive vision for Coloradans,” Annise Parker, the president and CEO of LGBTQ Victory Fund, a political action committee that aims to boost the number of LGBTQ candidates elected to office, said in a statement Tuesday.