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Silence on Mayor Ed Murray sent a loud message

It’s maybe not fair, and it’s definitely not due process. But what ended Mayor Ed Murray’s campaign for re-election Tuesday is that, on balance, people kind of believed his accusers.

In the end, what brought Seattle Mayor Ed Murray down was simple, and possibly also a bit unfair: People believed his accusers.

I don’t mean believed them wholeheartedly, or even halfway. I have no real insight into whether the allegations he preyed on troubled teens long ago were 100 percent solid, completely fabricated, or somewhere in between.

But the accumulated weight of the testimonies of the four men was just too much. Not in a legal sense, as in beyond a reasonable doubt. In the sense of politics, which is sometimes all about doubts.

I had developed this feeling that Seattleites on balance believed the accusers before I arrived at Alki Beach on Tuesday. But there, as Murray delivered a gripping, mournful eulogy for his own career, I became more convinced of it.

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The crowd of die-hard Murray supporters was resigned, but for the most part they did not seem angry. The emotion was that of a passing, of the end of an era. It wasn’t that a terrible injustice had been done.

“My feeling is that it’s tragic if it’s true, and it’s tragic if it’s not true,” summed up state Sen. Jamie Pedersen, D-Seattle, a Murray ally who a decade ago succeeded Murray in the state Legislature.

The surprised look on my face prompted him to continue: “I know, a lot of people have asked me: ‘Why are you here if you’re not sure what the mayor is saying is true or not?’ My answer is that no matter what happened 30 years ago, what I do know to be true is that he’s been a great mayor for this city. We should have had another four years, maybe eight years, of his talent for this city. Now we won’t.”

Pedersen’s hedging is understandable, because who really knows? But it’s…

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