Michael Hancock’s Life Story Produces Upset Win as Denver’s Mayor

Michael Hancock’s Life Story Produces Upset Win as Denver’s Mayor


Michael Hancock is Denver’s next mayor and the second African American to hold the city’s top office.

The two-term city councilman easily defeated Chris Romer, son of former Governor Roy Romer, in runoff June 7.

“Michael said he was going to be the first black mayor,” his mother, Scharlyne, told a crowd of supporters soon after the results were clear, “but second black mayor ain’t bad.”

Willington Webb, a key supporter of Hancock, was the city’s first black mayor, serving in that role from 1991 to 2003.

Hancock’s campaign was built entirely upon his life story. His younger years were tough, but he never stayed down.  “My father left when I was 6,” Hancock said in his first TV ad. “We were 10 kids in public housing, then homeless in a motel room. I’ve had a brother die of AIDS, and a sister murdered, but I never gave up.”

Despite attack ads run by his opponent and by outside groups, Hancock came from behind to beat Romer by a 16-point margin — a landslide victory.

“I’m so thankful to be from a place that embraces a positive outlook, a shared vision of a positive and optimistic future for all of us,” Hancock said, after the tally showed he received 58 percent of the vote.

“Denver, we will move forward tomorrow but we will not forget how we got here today,” said a jubilant Hancock, savoring his upset win. “We worked tirelessly every day, and we kept a positive vision for a great city.”

Hancock replaces Guillermo “Bill” Vidal, who was appointed as an interim after Mayor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, became Colorado’s governor in January.