Colorado-based Jared Polis won his Congressional primary last night, beating out long-time lawmaker Joan Fitz-Gerald. An entrepreneur who also sat on his state’s Education Board, Polis based much of his campaign on Iraq and environmental sustainability. And, from the sound of it, his constituents liked what they see.
Fitz-Gerald pulled out before all the votes had been counted, when Polis had forty-three percent of the vote, while she had thirty-nine.
Accepting the Democratic nomination last night, Polis spoke of breaking boundaries: “This election cycle, a lot of barriers are being broken. At the congressional level, we are showing that people are willing to elect a candidate based on their values and ideas and not their sexual orientation.”
Polis made headlines for pumping millions of his own fortune into his race, a factor many say helped him win the race:
At $5.3 million at last count, Polis easily demolished previous Colorado records for self-funding a race. Furthermore, Polis, Shafroth and Fitz-Gerald each topped $1 million in outside contributions, making the three-way race the most expensive primary in the nation.
The less-wealthy candidates both said that Polis’ cash changed the dynamics of the race, forcing them to focus on fundraising and spend less time on the campaign trail.
“If we’d all been given the same amount of money at the beginning, this race would have looked a lot different,” Fitz-Gerald said last week. “It’s like watching a tsunami come . . . and you’re not sure how big it’s going to be.”
This one could be big. With no Republican opponent, Polis will no doubt take his Congressional seat in Washington next year, which brings the Hill’s out homo tally up to three: Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin and now Polis.
[Photo by Joshua Lawson]