Brooklyn DA race may not be over
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
The race for Brooklyn district attorney might not be over, after all.
Brooklyn DA Charles Hynes, who lost the Democratic Primary to rival Ken Thompson on Sept. 10 and had publicly stated that he would not to campaign as a Republican in the general election, is being urged by GOP and Conservative Party leaders to change his mind and run, according to various media reports.
The New York Times reported on Thursday that Hynes, who lost the primary to Thompson by 10 points, 55 percent to 45 percent, is being urged by people close to him to re-consider his position and wage a campaign to keep the job he has held for 24 years.
Hynes’s name will appear on the ballot in November on both the Republican and Conservative Party lines. The question is whether he will actively campaign for votes.
On primary night, following his defeat at the hands of Thompson, Hynes, 78, stated that he would not actively campaign for re-election. Hynes DA told Thompson, 48, a former federal prosecutor, that he would cooperate with him to ensure a smooth transition for Thompson when he takes office in January.
But the New York Times article, as well as a piece in the Wall Street Journal, which quoted GOP and Conservative sources as saying they strongly believe he should run, is bringing speculation about Hynes’ future to a fever pitch.
Hynes himself is on vacation this week and was unavailable for comment.
Mike Long, chairman of the New York State Conservative Party, is among those who want to see Hynes run against Thompson in November. “He clearly could possibly be in a position to win if he campaigned,” Long told the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on Thursday.
“Only 22 percent of Democrats voted in the Democratic Primary,” said Long. That means, he said, that more than two-thirds of Democrats did not vote in their party’s primary on Sept. 10. “If he got 35 percent of Democrats and Conservative and Republican voters, he could win,” he said.
Long conceded, however, that it’s a long-shot at best. “He certainly would have an uphill battle. It would be a tough road for him,” he said.
For one thing, Democrats, who outnumber Republicans and Conservatives significantly in terms of voter registration in Brooklyn, are coalescing around Thompson, the party’s nominee.
State Sen. Marty Golden (R-C-Bay Ridge-southern Brooklyn), a close friend of Hynes’s, is reported to be urging him to run.
Another friend of Hynes’s said that he believed his buddy could win, despite the odds. “You have to remember that the general election is different from the primary,” said the friend, who asked that his name not be published. “In recent years, people have voted for the person, not the party. And Joe’s name is so well known,” he told the Eagle.
For his part, Thompson isn’t taking any chances. On Sept. 19, he sent out an email to supporters in which he wrote, “We’ve a lot of work to do between now and November. Because of your overwhelming support, I am honored to be the Democratic nominee for Brooklyn District Attorney. But this fight is not over.”
Thompson, who did not mention Hynes by name, criticized the efforts to get the current DA to run. “Desperate Republicans and defenders of the status quo are now playing political games to try to stop us from bringing the change that the people of Brooklyn are demanding,” he wrote.
“It's not going to work. But we're going to need to marshal all our energy and mobilize the extraordinary coalition that made history one more time. We're close to the finish line, and with your help, we're going to defeat the forces of the status quo once and for all,” Thompson wrote to his supporters.
One Democratic Party official in southern Brooklyn said he didn’t think Hynes would run and that all of the speculation would die down.
“The primary results were a message. The voters want change,” said the official, who asked not to be quoted by name.