After initially suggesting he would effectively bow out of the race for Brooklyn District Attorney after being beaten by challenger Kenneth Thompson in the Democratic primary, incumbent Charles Hynes has this morning announced that he will run for re-election as the Republican candidate.
Thompson’s victory over Hynes in the September 10th primary was historic: it was the first time a sitting DA was beaten by a challenger in a primary in New York City since 1955. Unethical prosecutorial conduct is cited as one of the key reasons that the public has lost faith in Hynes to do his job.
Though after his loss he said he would not actively seek re-election, Hynes was apparently fundraising and telling residents that he had changed his mind about foregoing a real campaign just two weeks later.
Today, the New York Daily News reports that Hynes announced his bid for re-election among heckles from the crowd:
“Hynes must go! Hynes must go!” roughly 20 protestors shouted as the six-term DA took the podium at Borough Hall, where he so often appeared as a candidate.
But this time, not only was he shouted down, but he was no longer flanked by the borough’s top Democratic elected officials and community power brokers — all of whom are now backing Kenneth Thompson, the former federal prosecutor who trounced Hynes in the Democratic primary last month.
Still, Hynes embraced the moment, and the hecklers.
“This is all about a free election,” he told the crowd. And I don’t mind dissenters. You can yell all you want. If you can just be decent enough to listen to what I have to say then say what you want to say.”
That did not placate his critics.
“We listened for 21 years!” yelled Mark Meyer Appel, founder of Voice of Justice, a child advocacy group.
Hynes, a lifelong Democrat, downplayed his decision to run on the Republican and Conservative lines.
“This is not about party politics, this is not about labels. This is about people. It’s about public safety,” Hynes said.
“It’s about the ability to bring issues to the public and have them decide on Nov. 5 just who should lead them,” he added.
After his primary trouncing, Hynes promised a “smooth transition” by assisting Thompson as he prepared to control.
But the borough’s top prosecutor flip-flopped and decided to continue his fight against Thompson, whom he has labeled “inexperienced” and “unqualified.”
Hynes also blasted Thompson for employing disgraced former Assemblyman Clarence Norman Jr. as the head of Thompson’s “get out the vote” effort.
Thompson has denied that Norman played any such role.