BY DENISE ROMANO AND HEATHER J. CHIN
Brooklyn District Attorney Charles J. Hynes will indeed run for re-election this November 5, but as a candidate with the Republican and Conservative parties.
Hynes – who shared the spotlight with GOP and Conservative Party backers — was heckled by a group of about 20 protestors as he made the official announcement of his intentions on the steps of Borough Hall on Tuesday, October 8. At the same time, cheers of “Let’s go Joe!” and “Hynes must go!” echoed through the plaza.
The move comes following Hynes’ defeat in the Democratic primary on September 10, to challenger Kenneth P. Thompson, who won 55 percent of the vote, amounting to 100,678 ballots cast in his favor, according to unofficial results from the city’s Board of Elections.
At that time, Hynes – who racked up 81,173 votes — had said, through campaign spokesperson George Arzt, that he “will not be [actively] campaigning” in the months leading up to November, despite the fact that he had already secured both the GOP and the Conservative Party lines.
However, he changed his mind after receiving vocal support from Democratic and Republican supporters alike.
“There has been an outpouring of groups demonstrating the fact that this is not about party politics, this is not about labels, this is about public safety,” Hynes said, welcoming the heckling. “This is all about a free election.”
Hynes said that he had “enough funding” to run a “successful campaign for re-election,” but told reporters to direct any questions about where the money came from to his treasurer.
Hynes also said that since only nine percent of Democratic voters actually voted in the primary this year, “it seems palpably unfair to deny voters a vote,
“Democrats and progressive voters will join with Republicans and Conservatives to preserve the public safety…and re-elect me for district attorney,” he said.
Hynes said that another reason that he had decided to wage an active campaign was because he believed, despite Thompson’s denial, that Thompson’s Primary Day campaign had been run by disgraced former Assemblymember Clarence Norman, Jr., who went to jail after being convicted of accepting illegal campaign contributions.
“I will do everything in my power to make damned sure that Clarence Norman, Jr. will have nothing to do with the office of the district attorney,” Hynes said.
Hynes’ decision to wage an active campaign was not well-received by some leaders in Brooklyn politics, including Frank Seddio, chairperson of the Kings County Democratic Committee.
“Ken Thompson won the primary fair and square. This is no time for Joe Hynes to turn his back on the Democratic Party. We profoundly regret his action after a long and distinguished career in public service,” Seddio said in a statement. “The cynical Republican-led effort to create an internecine feud among Democrats in the race for Brooklyn district attorney will end in failure. Brooklyn Democrats are 100 percent united behind our candidate Ken Thompson who will win in November.”
Hynes is pursuing a seventh term as Brooklyn DA. Over the past two decades, he has worked to increase the lines of communication and trust between communities and the court system, by opening neighborhood offices, holding essay contests with schools, and creating neighborhood Youth Courts in Red Hook, Greenpoint and Brownsville. He has also fought recidivism and juvenile crime through an array of programs that he piloted.
In recent years, however, Hynes has been faced with concerns about wrongful convictions within the Brooklyn D.A.’s office and allegations that he did not adequately pursue allegations of sexual abuse in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community.