Michael Hancock has won the Denver mayor's race.
Hancock handily beat Chris Romer 58 percent to 42 percent in the runoff, with 122,862 total votes counted.
In the end, voter turnout was better than expected with 41 percent of Denver's 300,600 registered voters casting ballots, according to the Denver Election Commission, which released the unofficial final results at 12:30 a.m.
"No one expected a poor kid from Northeast Denver to become a city councilman. And 16 months ago, no one gave us much of a chance to be standing here tonight," Hancock said to a packed room at the Exdo Event Center. "Early in life, I learned that when you face tough times, you work as a team and you never give up. Im grateful, beyond words, for the opportunities Ive had to lift myself up, and for the people who never gave up on me."
"When I was a boy, Mayor Pena asked us to imagine a great city. Mayor Webb worked tirelessly to build a great city. Mayor Hickenlooper put a great city on the worlds stage. Now, together, its time to deliver a great city for all. For every family, every business, every neighborhood. I am excited to bring this city together."
He thanked his wife, Mary, who introduced him on stage with a rousing song, his three children, and his mother, who raised 10 children on her own.
"To my beautiful mother Scharlyne, who I watched come home and was fearful of getting out of the car because she couldn't feed her family. Who I watched walk from 28th and Humboldt to 9th and Colorado for the night shift, because she had to, at least, keep a roof over our heads. My mother, tonight is your night," he tells his crying mother. "For all the deferred dreams that you had, all the great wishes that you heaped upon us, for the love that was unconditional. Tonight, Mama, I present to you a pin, that says, 'Michael Hancock, your baby boy, Mayor of Denver.'"
Romer Concedes Just After 8 PM
Romer conceded to Hancock just after 8 p.m. when the first results showed that the margin was too wide for him to make up.
"My cup is full. I want to tell you, I am lucky man ... just not tonight, as you can tell," Romer said jokingly. "I am truly proud of the campaign that we ran and the issues that we raised in this election ... But tonight the voters have spoken. And it's time to put our community first and be in the process of moving Denver forward."
"I just called Michael Hancock. In fact I texted him first because I couldn't get through. But then I called him and did get through, and congratulated him on a victory, and victory well earned," Romer added.
He asked his supporters to join Hancock to move Denver forward and ended his speech quoting Hancock.
"In the words of Michael Hancock, we are all Denver and it's time to unite for this city, to make it stronger," Romer said.
Both Mayoral Candidates Spent More Than $4 Million In Race
Hancock and Romer, both Democrats, spent more than $4 million in the race to succeed now-Gov. John Hickenlooper.
Romer, whose father is former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer, raised nearly $2.6 million to Hancock's $1.5 million. Romer's total included a $500,000 loan to himself. Their fundraising exceeded the $2.9 million raised by Hickenlooper and Don Mares in 2003, when Hickenlooper became mayor.
And although the race was a bit contentious at times, the two men agreed on most important issues: raising taxes to complete a mass transit project; dismissing police Chief Gerald Whitman, whose department has been marred by excessive force allegations; and favoring civil unions for same-sex couples. Both candidates said that they would consolidate some city departments to cut away at a $100 million budget deficit. Hancock said the city would have to continue a freeze on some government positions.
Hancock will be sworn in July 18, replacing interim Mayor Guillermo "Bill" Vidal. He will be the 45th mayor of Denver.
Who Is Michael Hancock?
Hancock's image is that of a man who faced adversity and overcame it.
From his hardscrabble roots he emerged to become to two-term city councilman and community leader.
His ad campaign showed he had big dreams even back in high school.
"I want to be the first black mayor of Denver," a teenage Hancock said in one ad.
That dream may have seemed improbable for a boy with nine brothers and sisters and a single mom struggling to survive.
"Ten kids in public housing. Then homeless in a motel room," he said in the ad.
But his story seems to be the American dream. Hancock went on to college and graduate school. He became the youngest chapter Chief Executive Officer of the Urban League and served two terms on city council and was elected president of the council twice.
Hancock's reputation helped him beat out eight other contenders in the primary and while he said he's stayed positive in the runoff he's faced criticism for a comment that seemed to support teaching creationism in public school. He's since said he misunderstood the question and doesn't support it.
He also voted for a controversial city council pay raise during a recession and that's been a point of contention.
During his campaign Hancock focused on his experience helping create jobs at the Urban League and said he fought to help reform troubled schools like Montbello High.
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