All around the country, nightclub and bar owners and operators banded together to support political candidates who have their interests at heart, helping pro-nightlife candidates win several tight races in different parts of the country. It’s the continuation of a trend started by the Big Apple’s Nightlife Preservation Community, which used nightclub and bar owners’ massive databases and social networking skills to help several forward-thinking, nightlife-friendly politicians win their races.
The race for the city attorney seat in Seattle is a battle we followed predominantly because challenger Pete Holmes went after younger voters by running a pro-nightlife campaign that had bar and nightclub owners rallying behind him as he took the victory. Incumbent Tom Carr came under further fire just one week before the election when several nightclub owners filed a complaint against him with the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, allegedly claiming that assistant city attorney Tienney Milnor told bar owners the city would start pulling liquor licenses if owners didn’t shape up and support Carr. Holmes won by a landslide, claiming 62 percent of the vote.
In Boston, bar and nightclub owners did not have the same success in supporting mayoral candidate Michael Flaherty, who lost to incumbent mayor Thomas Menino. Although Flaherty had the Boston Nightlife Coalition on his side, they were not able to sway voters with campaign promises of expanded train service, later operating hours and a fair licensing process. Perhaps it was the manner in which they took shots at the elder Menino, who is 66 years old, distributing fliers that urged voters to support Flaherty if, “you are not 65 and go to bed at 9:30 p.m.”
While this might only be the start, political organizations around the country have awakened to the voting power of the nightlife masses. With coveted databases and the ability to influence and inspire the masses, be sure that nightlife will continue to play a bigger role in the political future of our nation.