Record number of LGBT candidates running for governor

Record number of LGBT candidates running for governor
© Getty Images
Rep. Jared PolisJared Schutz PolisDrudge faces conservative pushback after mocking Trump's Colorado wall comment Trump says remark about Colorado border wall was made 'kiddingly' Colorado governor mocks Trump for saying he's building wall there MORE (D) on Tuesday won the Democratic nomination to be the next governor of Colorado, outlasting three other prominent Democrats with the help of millions of dollars he gave his own campaign.
 
In the process, Polis becomes the third member of the LGBT community to win a gubernatorial nomination this year — the first time in American history more than one openly LGBT person has won a nomination in any given year.
 
Polis faces a close race in a state that gave Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWill the Horowitz report split the baby? Gabbard commemorates John Lennon's passing by singing 'Imagine' Bannon: Clinton waiting to enter 2020 race and 'save the Democratic Party from Michael Bloomberg' MORE its electoral votes by just a five-point margin in 2008. Democrats have won three gubernatorial elections in a row, though Republicans captured a U.S. Senate seat now held by Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerHere are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump GOP senators unveil bill to expand 'opportunity zone' reporting requirements Overnight Health Care: House to vote next week on drug prices bill | Conway says Trump trying to find 'balance' on youth vaping | US spent trillion on hospitals in 2018 MORE (R) in the 2014 midterm elections.
 
Polis will face Walker Stapleton, the first-term state treasurer who won the Republican nomination on Tuesday. Stapleton, the second cousin of former President George W. Bush, outlasted several other Republicans including Doug Robinson, an investment banker who is also Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyHere are the Senate Republicans who could vote to convict Trump Statesmen seek bipartisan solutions to big challenges Georgia ready for unpredictable Senate race MORE's nephew.
 
But his nomination is historic nonetheless, in a year in which more gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender candidates than ever before are running for office. 
 
Polis is the first gay man to be nominated for governor, and one of just two gay men — along with former Rep. Mike MichaudMichael (Mike) Herman MichaudRecord number of LGBT candidates running for governor What to watch in Tuesday’s primary elections Democrats need an experienced leader on House VA committee MORE (D-Maine) — ever to win a major party's gubernatorial nomination.
 
But he is not the first LGBT person to secure a spot on the November ballot this year. In Oregon, Gov. Kate Brown (D), the first openly bisexual person to serve as governor of any state, is heavily favored to win a full four-year term. Texas Democrats nominated former Dallas County Sheriff Lupe Valdez (D), the first lesbian to win a gubernatorial nomination.
 
Valdez faces a much steeper climb against Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R). Polls show Abbott leading by a wide margin, and Abbott has socked away more than $40 million for the sprint to Election Day.
 
Their wins hint at the progress LGBT candidates have made in the decade and a half since the nation's first gay governor, New Jersey's Jim McGreevey (D), used the carefully poll-tested phrase "I am a gay American" in the same speech in which he resigned his office in the midst of a scandal.
 
Today, Polis is one of seven LGBT members of Congress — six in the House and Sen. Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinIt's time for Congress to establish a national mental health crisis number The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - Dems unveil impeachment measure; Vindman splits GOP The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Better Medicare Alliance - Dems shift strategy on impeachment vote MORE (D-Wis.) in the Senate. Several state legislatures are led by LGBT people, including in Oregon, where House Speaker Tina Kotek (D) is also the chair of the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee.
 
In his own political career, Polis has had the benefit of his own bank account to back him up. He built his fortune by founding several internet-based businesses, and he has spent freely on his own campaigns since entering public life in 2000, when he won election to Colorado's state Board of Education.
 
 
Polis has dropped at least $10 million into his bid to replace term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) so far this year. He used that money to outlast former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy (D), former state Sen. Mike Johnston (D) and Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne (D) on Tuesday.
 
With 82 percent of the precincts reporting, Polis had taken 45 percent of the vote. Kennedy was running in second position, with 25 percent of the vote. The Associated Press projected Polis would win.