Mayor Michael Hancock ran on stage at his campaign's watch party, pointed toward the heavens, then pumped his fist.
"Are you ready for four more years?" he asked the crowd, and hundreds of supporters responded with raucous applause.
By the time Hancock got on stage last night at Exdo Event Center, he knew that he had won. The second round of election results, which came at 8:30 p.m., showed that he had an insurmountable lead over his opponent, Jamie Giellis.
During his victory speech, Hancock gave kudos to Giellis. "Let's applaud Jamie Giellis and her team tonight for running a great campaign," he said. And not long after Hancock finished his speech, Giellis called him to concede.
This conciliatory attitude between the two opponents contrasted starkly with the tension that had developed in the weeks after the May 7 election, in which Hancock failed to get 50 percent of the vote (he clocked in at just over 38 percent), automatically moving him to a runoff with the second-place contender, Giellis, who'd collected just under 25 percent. Over the next month, both Giellis and Hancock slung plenty of mud at each other, making this one of the nastiest Denver elections in recent memory.
With all that behind him, Hancock, who has been mayor since 2011, stood on stage, looking both relieved at having won his third term and excited to be Denver's mayor for another four years.
"I’m going to keep working every day to keep Denver the best city in America. To get a job, to have a home, and to build your future," Hancock told the crowd.
Behind him were some of Denver's most famous political figures. Former Denver mayor Wellington Webb and his wife, former state representative Wilma Webb, hugged Hancock after the mayor expressed his gratitude for their support. And John Hickenlooper, whose departure from the mayor's office to run for governor opened the way for Hancock, gave Hancock an on-stage hug.
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Hancock's two adult children and his wife, Mary Louise Lee, all joined him on stage. “I’m so proud of the man that he is and the mayor he has been and will be for the next four years," Lee said of her husband.
Election returns as of 1 a.m. showed Hancock with 56.05 percent of the vote compared to Giellis's 43.95 percent, a difference of just under 19,000 votes.
This will be Hancock's final term in office, since Denver has a three-term limit.
Although the incumbent kept his seat in the mayoral runoff, three Denver City Council incumbents lost their seats in the election.