By Charisma L. Miller, Esq., and Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Vanquished Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, who was defeated in the Democratic Primary last month by Ken Thompson and was then urged by Republican and Conservative party leaders to run on their lines in November, has thrown his hat back into the ring, the New York Post reported on Thursday.
Hynes’s return to the campaign marked the latest turning point in the twisting saga over who will become Brooklyn’s top prosecutor. Thompson beat Hynes 55 percent to 45 percent in the Sept. 10 Democratic Primary, after which Hynes conceded the race and announced that he would help clear the way for Thompson to make a smooth transition into the District Attorney’s Office.
But in the weeks following the primary, Hynes was approached by several political figures, including state Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn) and New York State Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long, who urged him to run against Thompson in November.
Hynes’ name is on the election ballot on both the Republican and Conservative lines. The question surrounding him involved whether he would actively campaign. “He clearly could possibly be in a position to win if he campaigned,” Long told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in a recent interview.
Late September, after the Democratic primary, Hynes seemed to squelch rumors that he would run on the Conservative ticket, telling the New York Law Journal that he was “very firm” in his decision to cease all campaign efforts and that the pressures being applied by GOP members were “unpersuasive.”
The Post, citing sources close to Hynes, reported that the district attorney has decided not to leave public life after all and to actively campaign as a Republican to keep the job he has held for 24 years.
Supporters gathered for a fundraiser for Hynes at the Greenhouse Café, a Bay Ridge restaurant on Wednesday night. The Post reported that the party raised $150,000 for his re-election campaign.
There has also been a changing of the guard in Hynes’ supposed re-election bid. Hynes’ longtime spokesperson, George Arzt of George Arzt Communications is no longer representing Hynes. After the primary, Arzt told the New York Daily News that Hynes wanted to leave the D.A.’s Office in a “classy way,” and that running on the Conservative ticket had was something that the campaign “did not even think about.”
A spokesperson from Arzt’s office informed the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that Dennis Quirk, president of the New York State Court Officers Association, is the new public face of Hynes’ campaign. Calls to Quirk have not been immediately returned.
In the face of the Hynes rumors, Thompson, a former federal prosecutor, was busy consolidating his support in the heavily Democratic borough. The Democratic Party was coalescing around him. On Monday, he held a unity rally on the steps of Borough Hall with supporters who included Democratic comptroller candidate Scott Stringer and public advocate candidate Letitia James.
“I’m deeply honored and humbled to have the strong support of Democrats across Brooklyn, and I look forward to serving all the people of this borough as your next district attorney,” Thompson in a statement.
“We are united in bringing a new vision to our criminal justice system," he said.
Frank Seddio, chairman of the Kings County Democratic Committee, also issued a statement regarding the Republican effort to capture the Brooklyn D.A.’s office, noting “Ken Thompson won the primary fair and square. This is no time for Joe Hynes to turn his back on the Democratic Party.”
As the Brooklyn Daily Eagle previously reported, on the night of the Democratic Party primary election, on Sept. 10, Hynes called Thompson and “graciously offered a smooth transition.” The smooth transition was to include joint space in the D.A’s Office during Hynes’ lame-duck term through December 2013, but it is unclear if Hynes will stay true to his “smooth transition” offer.
“We profoundly regret his action after a long and distinguished career in public service, said Seddio. “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."
“It’s sad that Mr. Hynes refuses to accept the will of the people, as he repeatedly pledged to do last month,” James Freedland, spokesperson for the Thompson campaign, said in a statement. “We look forward to a clear contrast between Democrat Ken Thompson and Republican Joe Hynes… [a]nd we are confident all of Brooklyn's voters will render the same overwhelming verdict as they did in the primary."