Charles Hynes, Brooklyn DA, Weathers Bruising Campaign, Awaits Voters’ Verdict


On the final day of a bruising democratic primary campaign, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes and his opponent, former federal prosecutor Ken Thompson, criss-crossed the borough in the usual last push for votes.

Hynes voted in an apartment building on Shore Road, and then visited two schools, a community center and a senior center. Thompson publicized an endorsement from rap mogul Russell Simmons and made his own rounds.

Since there has been no public polling data on the race, the outcome seemed less clear, despite a cool confidence emanating from the Hynes camp. That may be the result of polls number never released, but it’s also probably a result of the fact that no sitting DA has lost a race in 102 years.

Still, this campaign has been Hynes’ toughest. He spent much of the race on the defensive–being criticized by two federal judges no less for the actions of top aide Michael Vecchione [pictured with Hynes, at right], of favoring the orthodox Jewish community in sex abuse case, for cronyism, for hiring a former key witness in a high profile murder case who was the daughter of a campaign contributor, and botching investigation of decades-old murder cases. Most recently, he was accused of making racist statements by a Brooklyn minister–something his campaign called a “desperate” move ordered by Thompson. The list goes on.

Moreover, as an incumbent in an election that was cast as a “change” campaign, Hynes was also up against the perception that voters wanted something different from the Bloomberg years.

A Hynes victory, then, would be quite an accomplishment, no less because while he certainly criticized Thompson mainly for inexperience, he never made really negative attacks on his opponent. This even as Thompson was attacking Hynes with press releases almost on a daily basis.

“Joe said firmly he did not want to go negative,” his campaign spokesman George Arzt told the Voice. “He said that the DA’s office should be held in great esteem and you don’t go negative.”

Much of Hynes’ campaign statements involved the social programs he has created as district attorney.

This being Brooklyn, throughout election day, rumors and allegations about various elements of skullduggery proliferated. Hynes backers alleged that disgraced former state legislator Clarence Norman was working for Thompson yesterday out of an office on Nostrand Ave. A Thompson spokesman denied that.

Hynes’ opponents accused him and his liaison to the Jewish community of wandering too close to a polling site, and alleged that Hasidic supporters of Hynes had tied cash prizes to voting.

As evening approaches, all of the hue and cry of the campaign seemed to begin to fade, and the wait began.