Colorado voters elect Jared Polis as first openly gay governor in country

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DENVER, CO – NOVEMBER 06: Democratic Colorado Governor-elect Jared Polis speaks at an election night rally on November 6, 2018 in Denver, Colorado. Polis defeated incumbent Republican Walker Stapleton to become the first openly gay man elected Governor in the country.(Photo by Rick T. Wilking/Getty Images)

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DENVER -- Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Polis defeated Republican state Treasurer Walker Stapleton in the Colorado governor's race on Tuesday.

Polis' victory Tuesday keeps the governor's seat in Democratic hands. The 43-year-old Polis will succeed the term-limited John Hickenlooper to become Colorado's first openly gay governor.

Polis is a five-term congressman and technology entrepreneur who promised to fight for universal health care, renewable energy standards and publicly funded preschool and kindergarten.

He vowed to stand up to President Donald Trump's efforts to dismantle former President Barack Obama's health care law.

Stapleton is a two-term state treasurer who campaigned on defending Colorado's constitutional restrictions on taxing and spending.

The 44-year-old Stapleton insisted Polis' ideas for funding K-12 education, roads and energy would bankrupt the state.

Colorado has not had a Republican governor since 2007.

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