ELECTION: Polis cruises to victory as next Colorado governor

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to add quotes from Jared Polis.

Congressman Jared Polis secured a resounding victory in Colorado’s gubernatorial race Tuesday, defeating Republican Walker Stapleton in the contest to become the state’s next and 43rd governor. NBC projected the election in Polis’ favor at about 7:39 p.m. Polis and Dianne Primavera will be sworn in Jan. 8, 2019, as governor and lieutenant governor, respectively.

Polis, a Democrat, led in polls throughout the campaign, with Stapleton unable to gain traction with the electorate. Polis led Stapleton 53 percent to 43 percent as of 7:35 p.m., with about 50 percent of the vote counted.

Polis’ victory comes amid near-record turnout for Colorado voters in an off-presidential election year. An estimated 2.2 million voters cast their ballots by 6:47 p.m., either through early voting or ballots cast on election day.

Polis, 43, most recently led in two polls released last week, with the Colorado Poll conducted by a Democratic group and released Nov. 1 showing him with a lead of 50 percent to 42 percent. A Republican survey released that same day gave Polis a lead of 45 percent to Stapleton’s 40 percent.

Polis becomes the nation’s first openly gay governor. He succeeds Gov. John Hickenlooper, the former Denver mayor who is considering a run for president.

“Tonight, we reaffirm what an amazing state that we live in,” Polis told a crowd of supporters. “In Colorado, we dream, we dare, and we do, whether it’s embracing big ideas or hiking our amazing mountains. We don’t back down when something is challenging. We see problems as opportunities in our state of Colorado. As your governor, I want to serve to protect our Colorado way of life, in my heart and in my mind, and I pledge to serve all Coloradans no matter your party, no matter where you live, no matter your race, or no matter your gender. We are all in this together.”

Polis credited Hickenlooper for his role in the state’s growth, and he thanked Stapleton for his eight years of service to the state. He also singled out his running mate, Primavera.

“Together, Dianne and I are  going to work every day to build an economy where Coloradans from all walks of life aren’t just getting by but can thrive here in our great state,” Polis said, noting that the two would pursue full-day kindergarten across the state.

Polis represented Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives for five terms. He defeated three Democratic rivals, June 26, to win the Democratic primary for governor.

Throughout the campaign, Polis touted his entrepreneurial experience in campaign ads. He co-founded BlueMountain.com, an online greeting-card company, and was one of four co-founders of Boulder-based Techstars.

His signature proposal is to create a single-payer health-care system in Colorado, even as he pushes to create a system for importing prescription drugs from Canada to lower drug costs.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated to add quotes from Jared Polis.

Congressman Jared Polis secured a resounding victory in Colorado’s gubernatorial race Tuesday, defeating Republican Walker Stapleton in the contest to become the state’s next and 43rd governor. NBC projected the election in Polis’ favor at about 7:39 p.m. Polis and Dianne Primavera will be sworn in Jan. 8, 2019, as governor and lieutenant governor, respectively.

Polis, a Democrat, led in polls throughout the campaign, with Stapleton unable to gain traction with the electorate. Polis led Stapleton 53 percent to 43 percent as of 7:35 p.m., with about 50 percent of the vote counted.

Polis’ victory comes amid near-record turnout for Colorado voters in an off-presidential election year. An estimated 2.2 million voters cast their ballots by 6:47 p.m., either through early voting or ballots cast on election day.

Polis, 43, most recently led in two polls released last week, with the Colorado Poll conducted by a Democratic group and released Nov. 1 showing him with a lead of 50 percent to 42 percent. A Republican survey released that same day gave Polis a lead of 45 percent to Stapleton’s 40 percent.

Polis becomes the nation’s first openly gay governor. He succeeds Gov. John Hickenlooper, the former Denver mayor who is considering a run for president.

“Tonight, we reaffirm what an amazing state that we live in,” Polis told a crowd of supporters. “In Colorado, we dream, we dare, and we do, whether it’s embracing big ideas or hiking our amazing mountains.…