CO Sending First Openly Gay Non-Incumbent To Congress

Jared Polis, Democratic candidate for the U.S. House seat being vacated by Mark Udall in Colorado's 2nd Congressional District, addresses the crowd during the Democrats' gala in Denver on Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
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DENVER (AP) -- Colorado will send the first openly gay non-incumbent to Congress: Internet businessman Jared Polis, who handily won in the left-leaning 2nd Congressional District.

Polis beat Republican Scott Starin for a seat left vacant by Democratic Rep. Mark Udall, who was elected to the U.S. Senate.

Polis was a first-time candidate. His sexual orientation played no role in his campaign, and he says voters asked more about his plans to fix the economy and end the war in Iraq.

Polis says elected officials that are minorities often deal with that being mentioned, but he says at the end of the day, voters care about issues.

Polis is the co-founder of the online greeting card company

His technology savvy was largely credited for his August primary victory over longtime state lawmaker Joan Fitz-Gerald and environmentalist Will Shafroth.

Polis ran a personal campaign blog and used social networking sites such as Facebook to recruit support.

His personal wealth helped too: He sank an estimated $5.3 million of his own money into the primary campaign.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)