DENVER (KDVR) — Democratic incumbent Jared Polis has defeated challenger Heidi Ganahl in the race for governor of Colorado, according to the Associated Press.

The Democratic incumbent and businessman beat Ganahl, a businesswoman and member of the University of Colorado Board of Regents.

“Our approach is simple: We focus on issues that affect people’s lives, and deliver real results,” Polis said after taking the lectern on Tuesday night. “Colorado, we’ve shown what kind of progress is possible when we work together in a way that’s practical and data-driven. And we’ve proven that saving people money and protecting their freedoms is a great way to bring people together.”

“Whether you voted for me or not, I will work as hard as I possibly can on behalf of you and your family, and I will never stop fighting for a better future for our state,” Polis added.

His administration pointed to some of its successes, including free kindergarten, focusing on transitioning Colorado to 100% renewable energy and cutting taxes.

“We have a bold, positive vision for this state we love so much and we have worked to deliver on that vision by listening to and solving problems for the people of Colorado,” Lt. Gov. Dianne Primavera said in a statement. “I couldn’t be more thankful to the people of Colorado for trusting us to keep getting the job done for four more years.”

Ganahl’s campaign released a concession statement on Tuesday night after the race was called for Polis.

“Governor Polis, I wish you well, and my prayers will be with you. This election is over, but our problems are not. Crime in Colorado is real. Record inflation is real. The state of our education system is real,” Ganahl said. “Please do not ignore the cries of help from so many in our state. I implore you to be a governor for all Coloradans, and to seek consensus with those of us on the other side of the aisle, even when that may not be easy.”

Polis victory expected; polls showed big leads

The Polis victory does not come as a surprise to political observers. Polis was ahead in polls throughout the election’s duration.

Two weeks before the election, an exclusive FOX31/The Hill/Emerson College poll conducted Oct. 26-29 showed Colorado’s incumbent governor with a 14-point lead over Ganahl. Among voters of all political affiliations, 53.6% of respondents said they would vote for Polis, while 39.9% said they would vote for Ganahl.

Ahead of the election, a FOX31 Denver political analyst declared the race a lock for Polis.

Polis’ first term took place in a time of rapid change for Colorado. The COVID-19 pandemic struck halfway through, the effects of which intensified already-rising living costs in the state.

Colorado now ranks among the least affordable home markets in the nation both for rent and ownership. The state’s population exploded, largely with wealthier transplants from east and west coastal hubs. Like Polis, Ganahl supports denser housing to solve the affordability crisis.

Polis has supported abortion rights and signed a bill enshrining them into the state’s constitution this year. Ganahl opposes abortion in all cases except rape, incest or when the life of the mother is at stake.

Polis’ victory will solidify Colorado’s growing reputation as firmly blue in its state-level leadership.

Ganahl ran a campaign to oppose spending at both the federal and state levels. She blamed federal programs for contributing to inflation and has been highly critical of state Democratic lawmakers’ passage of fees to fund new government programs.