From the first moment I walked into Mike Johnston's mayoral election party at the terminal in Union Station, I was met with a very familiar feeling. It was the same one felt when I watched the Broncos take the field for Super Bowl 50: victory was just a waiting game.

And this feeling permeated the building.

Of course, there’s also the possibility that the entire celebration put together by the organizers could have played a factor in this level of overwhelming positivity. I mean, how could there not be a spirit of celebration when you combine being met with a collection of upbeat 1980s- and 90s-party tunes along with about five or six places you could get alcohol at (all within 500 feet of each other), and giant TV monitors constantly showing a growing lead by Johnston? And when you add in the fact that a number of Colorado State Representatives, former Mayors, and other political A-listers were in the house, you have a situation that radiates electricity.

But even more than the stew of visual and auditory stimulations, the heightened excitement felt by the capacity crowd truly came from the ideas and vision of one man: Mike Johnston.

During the evening, I brought up this topic when I asked anti-gang activist, former mayoral candidate, and self-professed Rooster Magazine reader Terrance Roberts what he felt was so unique about Johnston’s agenda that made it so appealing to such a large number of constituents. Said Roberts, “I don’t think it’s more so his agenda that’s unique, I just think that he really listens a lot. And his background shows he deserves this position. He was a state senator, he ran for governor, he ran for US Senate, so he has a lot of political connections. [Because of this], I think Mike’s going to put the right people in office; all would be experts at different positions.”

The thought of Johnston bringing diverse ideas to the table during his administration to enact positive change was also something that was shared by the former Mayor of Denver Federico Peña. “Mike has a vision, he has bold ideas, he’s got a high energy level, he has a record of getting things done—very complicated things done that we talked about during the campaign. And he’s attracted a very diverse group of citizens who are very energetic about him; that’s a reflection of him. Because, if you have a great leader, [they’ll] surround themselves with a lot of great people. So, tonight is a reflection of his ideas, [his] hard work.”

Of course, when it comes to politics, no matter how good your ideas may be, you are going to need assistance from various city councils and other boards to see them become a reality. This is something that State Representative, and former Denver mayoral candidate, Leslie Herod nailed head-on when I asked her about the implementation of Johnston’s ideas. “What we have in this administration in the city is someone at the helm, as Mike, who will be able to push those ideas through, and actualize them because we’ll have the power of the city behind us. We have so many people in this city that agrees 100% with what Mike wants to do. And so, that is the political will that we need to be successful.”

With this much emotion backing a candidate, it was no surprise that beginning at 9:55 PM MST all eyes were either glued to the giant clocks on either end of the terminal or their phones—the ballot drop predicted to call the election winner was scheduled to drop at 10. Unfortunately for those about to explode with anticipation, the crowd wouldn’t get the results until it was announced at 10:25 that Johnston had won.

Within minutes of the announcement, Johnston was on the stage with his family and staff. This was followed by an incredibly powerful and emotionally driven speech given by his wife. After her address, Johnston took over the microphone and began thanking his family, his opponents, and those who had been mayor before him. Over the next 10 minutes, he laid out his vision of what he hoped to accomplish during his tenure. Though a lot of it wasn’t anything you hadn’t heard on the campaign trail, there was one portion that completely captivated the crowd—it was a section I call the “dream of Denver.”

“This race was about a big vision for what’s possible for Denver; it was about a dream of Denver. We know there are cities that have tried to deliver that dream that have failed. Those are cities that have made two kinds of mistakes. Cities that have missed the chance to find a new economy and new innovation and bring growth to those cities. There you have businesses that have closed and stores that have shuttered and the young people that are third or fourth generations of those family took their creativity and their innovation and they left. And they went looking for something else. Those are the cities we left behind.

We know there’s another type of city that actually grew but grew so fast they didn’t think to ask what they were growing for, or who they were leaving behind, and what they were losing from what they had built and those cities grew so fast they became unaffordable to the folks that actually built them. They became unsafe to the folks that lived in them. They became unwelcoming to the folks that were trying hardest to make their lives there. Those are the cities that left us behind. In Denver, we have the drive to dream something different, which is to believe we can build a different kind of city we can build a city that is big enough to keep all of us safe to house all of us to support all of us, that is our dream of Denver.”

As those in attendance started their journeys home, the smiles on their faces made me sure of one thing: the endorphins brought about from this level of jubilation would carry through the following morning for everyone.

Well, all except for this one guy I saw walking around consuming the contents of a mixed drink he carried in one hand and a cup of ice cream in another—as someone who did that during my youth, I’m pretty sure his night didn’t end as he’d hoped for.