After winning his Democratic primary, Jared Polis is likely to become the first-ever openly gay man elected to the U.S. Congress as a non-incumbent, the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund announced.
Polis now advances to a general election to represent Colorado’s 2nd Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. As the Democratic nominee in an overwhelmingly Democratic district, Polis is nearly certain to win the seat in November. He would join Reps. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Barney Frank (D-Mass.) as the only openly gay or lesbian members of Congress.
“Jared’s election is a victory for democracy. Gay Americans are woefully underrepresented in our government,” said Chuck Wolfe, president and CEO of the Victory Fund, which endorsed Polis. “Jared’s victory brings us one step closer to fulfilling America’s promise of a truly representative government.”
Polis, who was previously elected statewide to the Colorado State Board of Education, would fill the seat of Rep. Mark Udall, who is running to represent Colorado in the U.S. Senate. The Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute, the Victory Fund’s affiliated organization, supported Polis when he came out publicly while serving on the Board of Education. Polis is also a graduate of GLLI’s Advanced Candidate and Campaign Training.
Polis would become the sixth openly gay person to serve in the House of Representatives. Rep. Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat elected from Wisconsin in 1998, was the first openly gay person to be elected to the U.S. House as a non-incumbent. Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, also a Democrat, announced he was gay in 1987 after having served several terms in the House. Frank is now the powerful chairman of the House Financial Services Committee. The late Gerry Studds, a Democrat of Massachusetts, came out publicly while serving in the House, as did former Congressman Steve Gunderson, a Republican from Wisconsin, and former Congressman Jim Kolbe, a Republican from Arizona. No openly gay or lesbian person has yet been elected to the U.S. Senate.