By Colleen Long
Brooklyn's longtime district attorney, who lost the Democratic primary election, plans to actively campaign on the Republican line, his spokesman said Thursday.
Charles "Joe" Hynes was unseated Sept. 10 by Ken Thompson, the first time in a century an acting district attorney was unseated in New York. Hynes' name will appear on the ballot as a candidate for the Republican and Conservative parties, but he had said repeatedly he wasn't going to actively campaign.
But his spokesman Jerry Schmetterer, who is taking time off from the district attorney's office to help with the campaign, said the 78-year-old Hynes made the decision after an outpouring of support and encouragement. He said a fundraiser held Wednesday in Brooklyn raised $150,000.
"He refuses to turn his back on the people of Brooklyn, the thousands of families he has helped with his domestic-violence initiatives, the drug addicts reformed through his programs, the rehabilitated who are back in society," Schmetterer said.
A spokesman for Thompson said Hynes was refusing to accept the will of the people.
"We look forward to a clear contrast between Democrat Ken Thompson and Republican Joe Hynes, who has lied to the public," Thompson spokesman James Freedland said. "We are confident all of Brooklyn's voters will render the same overwhelming verdict as they did in the primary."
The campaign won't be easy. Of the more than 1.3 million registered voters in Brooklyn, about 985,000 are Democrats, 124,000 are Republicans and 5,000 are Conservatives, according to the city's Board of Elections. In the primary, only about 20 percent of Democrats voted, and Thompson won by about 18,000 votes.
Frank Seddio, head of the Brooklyn Democratic Committee, said Thompson won the primary "fair and square."
"This is no time for Joe Hynes to turn his back on the Democratic Party," Seddio said. "We profoundly regret his action after a long and distinguished career in public service."
Schmetterer said Hynes was especially concerned about the relationship between Thompson and former state assemblyman Clarence Norman, who was accused of selling judgeships and was prosecuted and convicted byHynes. He said Norman, who had vowed he would be vindicated, was involved in the campaign.
Thompson called the accusation a smear tactic.
"The bottom line is, Clarence Norman had absolutely nothing to do with my campaign," he said in an earlier interview.
Hynes will make a formal announcement and explain his decision on Tuesday. The general election is Nov. 5.