Challenger crushes incumbent in DA race — for the second time

Hand of the law: 23-year incumbent Charles “Joe” Hynes conceded defeat on Sept. 10.
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

Talk about laying down the law!

A challenger trounced Brooklyn’s 23-year incumbent district attorney by a whopping three-to-one margin — just months after defeating the long-sitting lawman in the Democratic primary.

Former federal prosecutor and Dem nominee Ken Thompson beat DA Charles “Joe” Hynes for the second time this year, capturing almost three-quarters of the vote. Hynes had conceded to Thompson the night of the Sept. 10 primary — but decided a month later to carry on his campaign on the Republican and Conservative party lines after reports appeared alleging that disgraced Democratic Party boss Clarence Norman had helped run Thompson’s campaign. Hynes expressed shock at the severity of his loss to Thompson.

“I was surprised by how wide it was,” the outgoing top attorney said. “It’s given Ken Thompson a clear mandate.”

Hynes said he had been unable to reach Thompson, and had left a concession message with one of the victor’s aides. Hynes promised to set up a transition team by the end of the week to help ease between administrations — similar to the vow he made after his loss in September, and according to Thompson, never made good on.

Hynes declined to comment on whether he was still afraid of Norman — who he helped send up the river in 2005 for accepting illegal donations to his Assembly campaign — controlling the DA’s office. The incumbent had repeatedly raised that fear during the last weeks of the campaign, despite Thompson denying he had any relationship with Norman.

“That’s behind us,” Hynes said.

Thompson expressed gratitude to the 222,348 voters who supported him.

“I’m honored and humbled to serve as your next district attorney. Thank you, Brooklyn,” Thompson told supporters after the numbers came in.

Thompson makes history by being the first challenger to unseat an incumbent district attorney in Brooklyn since 1911, and will be the borough’s first black DA.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.
Ken Thompson beat incumbent DA Charles Hynes on Nov. 5 with nearly 75 percent of the vote.
Photo by Arthur De Gaeta

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