Jared Polis has been named the first ever openly gay to be elected governor of a US state, defeating his Republican opponent in Colorado in the midterm elections.

Polis succeeds Democratic incumbent John Hickenlooper, who was not able to seek another term in office, CNN reported.

Polis campaigned on a platform of universal healthcare and moving Colorado towards 100 per cent renewable energy.

He was previously the first openly gay first-year congressman elected when he joined the House in 2008.

Oregon’s current Democratic governor Kate Brown identifies as bisexual, while former New Jersey governor Jim McGreevey came out as gay in 2004 when announcing his resignation from office.

Polis was just one of many out candidates running for office in the US midterms; in Kansas, openly gay Sharice Davids became the first Native American woman elected to Congress.

In the Texas gubernatorial race, out gay Latina candidate Lupe Valdez was unsuccessful in defeating current governor Greg Abbott, while Vermont’s Democratic candidate for governor Christine Hallquist – the first out trans woman to run for the position in the US – was also unsuccessful.

Hallquist had previously made headlines for transitioning while in her role as CEO of one of Vermont’s major electricity companies.

In ballot measures up for debate, Massachusetts voted to maintain anti-discrimination law protecting trans and gender diverse people in an election where Democrats are projected to retake control of the House of Representatives.

The measure was brought forward by anti-trans campaigners in the state in the US’ first ever referendum on trans rights.

CNN has reported that exit polls suggest President Donald Trump lies at the heart of much of the results, with key Democrats losing support from key groups who backed Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

The Trump administration’s ongoing assault on trans rights recently included an official attempt to move that gender be legally defined “solely by one’s genitals at birth, and that any dispute over someone’s gender would require clarification through genetic testing.”

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