Last night's Democratic primary had its share of surprising results, but none possibly more remarkable than Brooklyn's rejection of its 23-year incumbent District Attorney Charles Hynes.
In a stunning upset, former federal prosecutor Ken Thomspon defeated the 78-year-old Hynes with 55% of the vote, following a nasty race that came to a close with allegations of vote fraud within the South Williamsburg ultra-Orthodox community.
“I think folks knew the record I had,” Hynes said in his concession speech last night. “I guess folks came to the conclusion that it was my time.”
Even though Hynes ran on the Republican and Conservative party lines as well, his spokesman says he will not continue to seek reelection. However, his name will still appear on the ballot.
"It has been against tough odds, but we are now on a path to a better future for Brooklyn, one that will make our communities both safer and stronger," Thompson told supporters during his victory speech.
A sharp division among voters in Brooklyn was clear yesterday as scores of Hasidim in South Williamsburg voted for Hynes after advertisements portrayed him as the candidate most dedicated to keeping crime down in the community. But Hynes has also protected the identities of ultra-Orthodox sex-offenders, and critics say he has been slow to pursue allegations of child abuse in the tight-knit community.
Hynes's loss marked the first time in over 100 years that an elected D.A. has been voted out of office in Kings County. Thompson was in a conciliatory mood, however, after the results came in:
I want to thank DA Hynes for a lifetime of service to the people of Brooklyn.
— Ken Thompson (@KenThompson4DA) September 11, 2013
To that end, Hynes promised to "fully brief" Thompson before he takes office.
“The most important thing I’m going to do as District Attorney, is have one standard of justice for everyone in Brooklyn,” Thompson told Gothamist last week. “Charles Hynes has spoken words that are words that divide. Disgraceful words to speak about an entire community.”
While the Hasidic community bloc-voted in support of Hynes, the rest of Brooklyn, perhaps spurred by reports of numerous wrongful convictions—as well as Hynes's support of stop and frisk—voted overwhelmingly against the incumbent.