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Michael Hancock wins Denver mayoral runoff election

9:40 AM, Jun 8, 2011   |    comments
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"Denver, I am proud of our city. We have fought side-by-side through very tough times and today, we stand ready for a bright future," Hancock said during his victory speech. "Today, I am stronger than when I started this race. I am no stranger to challenges. No one expected a poor kid from northeast Denver to become city councilman. And 16 months ago, no one gave us much of a chance to be standing here tonight. But here we are."

Hancock took the stage at his campaign headquarters just after 9 p.m. Hancock's childhood was a common theme during his campaign and he continued to reference his history during his speech.

"Early in life, I learned that when you face tough times, you work as a team and you never give up," he said.

Hancock's win was apparent just after the first votes were counted. In the first count, Hancock had a commanding 13 percent lead over former State Sen. Chris Romer and that lead only widened as the evening continued.

At the start of his speech, Hancock lifted up a young boy named Ike who had appeared in some of Hancock's political campaign ads.

"Give Ike some love!" Hancock shouted at the crowd. "I've got to say one thing, it is hot as hell up here," Hancock said after putting the child down.

During his speech, Hancock specifically thanked his mother and handed her a special pen that said, "Your baby boy is mayor."

Hancock was among 10 children and had a difficult childhood.

At 10 p.m. when new results came in, Hancock widened his lead. Hancock had 57 percent of the vote and Romer had 42 percent.

Hancock had 66,538 votes and Chris Romer had 48, 779 votes out of 115,317 votes counted. It's believed only 119,000 ballots were cast, which is about 33 percent of the approximately 300,000 ballots sent out in the all mail-in election.

After Hancock's victory speech, Romer came to his campaign headquarters and joined Hancock for the celebration.

Just after 8 p.m., Romer took the stage at his own campaign headquarters and said he had called Hancock and conceded the race.

"In fact, I texted him first because I couldn't get through, but then I called him and did get through to congratulate him on a victory and a victory well earned. It's time to unite behind the challenges that we face. It's time, together, to work with Michael to put our city forward."

Romer thanked his supporters, but was at his podium with a smile on his face.

"My cup is full. I want to tell you, I am a lucky man, just not tonight," Romer said.

Romer said he was disappointed, but later quoted Hancock, saying "We are all Denver."

Romer ran the most expensive campaign in the history for Denver mayor, spending at least $2.5 million. Around $700,000 was money he loaned to his campaign himself. He was the frontrunner after the general election and got the endorsement of James Mejia, who took third place that night.

After his speech, 9NEWS asked Romer if he thinks the negative path his campaign took backfired on him.

"Look, we're proud of the issues we ran, and I think it was a good campaign. Win or lose, you got to step on the stage, you've got to have the guts, and the risk to take it, and I knew it would be a tough fight and Michael won," Romer said.

(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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