by: Essex Porter Updated:SEATTLE —
Seattle's mayor gets a challenge on familiar turf in his run for re-election.
Some of the prominent club owners, who supported him four years ago, today switched sides to support state Sen. Ed Murray.
The move cuts right to the heart of one of the mayor's most important constituencies, the young people who were key to electing him four years ago.
Some praised mayor Mike McGinn's embrace of the nightlife industry during his term, but feel Murray would be better going forward.
"Honestly I think Mr. Murray is a better politician," said Mike Meckling, the owner of Neumos, Barboza, Moe Bar and Spitfire. "He's more influential on the state level and he's not so alienating of others I guess."
Club owners believe Murray's influence at the state level can persuade the Liquor Control Board to allow staggered closing of bars after 2 a.m. They say letting some bars stay open longer will ease the crowding on the streets that can lead to trouble.
"There just wasn't a working relationship with the liquor control board that was going to get us to even pilot projects," said Murray.
McGinn supports the idea, but could not get the Liquor Board to agree.
However, there are still plenty of McGinn supporters in the nightlife industry. Singer and music journalist John Roderick is among them.
"As musician, the city of Seattle was so hostile to the rock scene for so many years, to finally have a mayor in office that comes to rock shows and that knows musicians by name," Roderick said. "The temperature of the city has changed under the McGinn administration.
The Seattle Music and Nightlife Association is remaining neutral in the mayor's race, but the club owners we met today are members. They promise to help with individual donations and social media outreach to their patrons.