In Turnaround, DA Hynes to Stay in Race

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes will seek a seventh term in the Republican and Conservative party lines. (Photo via Hynes' Facebook page)

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes will seek a seventh term in the Republican and Conservative party lines. (Photo via Hynes’ Facebook page)

Old political power dies hard.

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes’ campaign spokesman announced he will continue his re-election bid on the Republican and Conservative party lines in the November 5 general election. Hynes, 78, a lifelong Democrat, petitioned the Conservative and Republican Party for a spot on the November ballot. An official announcement will take place on October 8 at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

In the September 10 Democratic Primary race, Hynes lost the party’s nomination. Voters instead elected Kenneth Thompson, a criminal defense and civil rights attorney. It was a decisive vote: Thompson 55 percent, over Hynes’ 45 percent.

On election night, Hynes conceded the race. His campaign spokesman said he would have a “classy” exit. In his concession speech, Hynes committed to support Thompson’s transition. “When he [Thompson] assumes the position of district attorney of this county in January 2014, he will be fully briefed on what we’ve been doing, and he’ll be ready to hit the ground running,” Hynes said.

A longtime central Brooklyn resident, who supported Hynes in the September primary, attended a community clergy meeting on October 3, and said, “Many in the room were former Hynes supporters who are unhappy with him conceding, and then reneging on his word to run as Republican and Conservative.”

The Brooklyn resident, who requested anonymity, now supports Thompson. “We knew he [Hynes] was on the GOP and Conservative party line. But to go back on his commitment, after conceding, and offering transition support to Thompson, is why many who supported him before are now supporting Thompson.”

Long shot candidate

The prospect of Hynes, after 23-years in office, winning a seventh term as a Republican and Conservative candidate is a long shot. The New York City Democratic Party is unified and mobilized around Thompson’s candidacy for November.

On September 30, at a rally on the steps of Brooklyn Borough Hall, former influential Hynes backers showed their support for the Democratic Party nominee. Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio, Comptroller nominee Scott Stringer, Public Advocate candidate Letitia James, Assemblymen Walter Mosley and Karim Camara, Councilwomen Diana Reyna and Darlene Mealy, Committee Chair Frank Seddio and others joined forces to urge voters to support Thompson, according to a press statement.

“Ken is our candidate, and we are united as one to make sure he is elected Brooklyn DA in November,” Frank Seddio, Kings (BK) County Democratic Chairman.

If that Democratic Party show of support for Thompson isn’t convincing enough of Hynes’ unlikely success, consider last year’s Presidential race turnout for Brooklyn Republican and Conservative candidates.

In the 2012 Presidential election, 82 percent of Brooklyn Democratic voters turned out for President Obama and Vice President Biden; and 16.9 percent of Republican and Conservative party voters combined turned out for the Mitt Romney-Paul Ryan ticket. Brooklyn is Democratic Party territory. Hynes knows that more than most.

And then there is this, a new Quinnipiac University poll on the mayoral race, published October 3 in the Wall Street Journal:

Mr. de Blasio, the city’s public advocate, is beating Mr. Lhota, a former chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and a former deputy mayor in Rudy Giuliani’s administration, 71% to 21% among likely voters, according to a survey from the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. A poll on Sept. 19 showed Mr. de Blasio besting Mr. Lhota, 66% to 25%.

Sometimes hope, gumption, denial and very bad counsel are all a diehard politician has to cling to.

In New York City politics, hope springs eternal (think @CarlosDanger); and all things are possible – so it is said, and apparently believed by Hynes. But there is much for Hynes to overcome in 30 days. For starters, he broke his word to people who believed in him – as a Democrat.

“Hynes reneged on his word. He should step back. I am surprised that he is going forward and reneging on his concession. I can’t support him running as a Republican or Conservative,” said the central Brooklyn resident.

This article was first published on BBN and is part of the series The Real Untouchables: District Attorneys-Prosecutors. It was also written as part of the Covering NYC: Political Reporting Fellowship of the Center for Community and Ethnic Media and funded by a grant from the Charles H. Revson Foundation.

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  1. Pingback: Opinion: Are Prosecutors Untouchable, Free of Accountability? | Voices of NY

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