Battle of debates: B’klyn D.A. candidate backs out of scheduled debate, claims incumbent has done the same

Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle

The final debate between Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes and the challenger to his seat, Ken Thompson, scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 27 to be held at the Brooklyn Bar Association (BBA) on Remsen Street in Brooklyn Heights, was canceled at the last minute.

Thompson’s campaign contacted the Brooklyn Bar Association President Andrew Fallek Monday afternoon prior to Tuesday’s debate to alert him that Thompson would no longer be able to participate “[d]ue to scheduling conflict.”

“All of us at the BBA are obviously very disappointed that one candidate withdrew on the eve of this important event,” Fallek said in a released statement.  “We believe that our planned format would have raised the level of discourse for both candidates and been extremely informative for those who had planned to attend.”

Thompson’s campaign insists that the scheduling conflict was of a personal nature and unavoidable. “We attempted to reschedule the debate,” James Freeland, a spokesperson for Thompson’s campaign, told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.  However, given the tight schedule of the BBA planning committee, Hynes and Thompson, a rescheduled date was impossible to come by.

Hynes’ campaign took Thompson’s actions as show of an insecurity of his record. “It is astonishing that Ken Thompson would duck out at the last minute from this debate,” Hynes’ campaign spokesperson George Arzt told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. “[Thompson] obviously doesn’t feel his record is strong enough to plead his case to the legal community of Brooklyn or that his own lack of supervisory experience qualified him to manage an office of 1,200 employees, including 500 lawyers.”

Thompson’s campaign contends that Hynes has backed out of a number of scheduled debates without providing any reason or any attempt to reschedule. In particular, these include a candidate forum, scheduled for last Thursday, hosted by the Rugby Neighborhood Alliance and a WABC debate to be scheduled for later this week.

“Rugby was never confirmed because of the D.A.’s tight schedule,” Arzt asserted. “On ABC, there was very little notice and we told ABC that we already had had three debates and a fourth one [at the BBA] was coming up.”

"The brazen hypocrisy and desperation of Joe Hynes has reached new heights," said James Freeland, a spokesperson for Thompson.

"Ken Thompson has resoundingly won all...debates with Joe Hynes so far, and welcomes the contrast between his record fighting for justice and the D.A.’s record fighting for his own political career."

August 27, 2013 - 3:30pm


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