FORT COLLINS, Colorado — Democrat Jared Polis will be Colorado's next governor.
The Congressman for Boulder and Fort Collins is projected to beat Republican Treasurer Walker Stapleton. ABC News and Denver-based 9News called the race in Polis' favor shortly before 8 p.m.
The win makes Polis the nation's first openly gay male governor. Polis has downplayed his family life in the election but has been a supporter of LGBTQ issues in Colorado and in Congress. He and his partner, Marlon Reis, have two children.
On Tuesday night, though, Polis' pride in his sexual orientation and journey spilled out in his acceptance speech.
"Tonight we proved that we are an inclusive state that values everyone's contribution, regardless of someone's sexual orientation," Polis said.
Polis said he was "profoundly grateful" to the LGBTQ pioneers who came before him, for "all the work you've done and overcome."
Calling Reis "the first first man in the history of Colorado, Polis embraced Reis while the crowd at the Colorado Democratic Party's election party cheered on.
Polis ran on a campaign of 100 percent renewable energy in the state by 2040, full-day kindergarten and moving the state toward universal health care, possibly via a consortium formed with Colorado's neighboring states.
It's unclear now what kind of state legislature he'll inherit. Key races have yet to be called. Republicans held a slim majority in the state senate heading into the race, while Democrats controlled the state House of Representatives.
Polis, who is one of the wealthiest members of Congress, waded through a crowded Democratic primary over the summer, buoyed by self-funding. He didn't let up on using his own money during his general election campaign, spending more than $20 million on the way to the governor's mansion. Stapleton also spent more than $1 million of his own money.
Polls showed Polis with a consistent lead through the election cycle.
Polis follows two-term Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper.