Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes conceded to his Democratic rival Ken Thompson–for the second time–tonight, becoming the first sitting district attorney in more than half a century to be voted out of office.
“It’s a substantial vote. It gives Ken Thompson a clear mandate which he didn’t have after the primary,” Mr. Hynes said, sounding glum at his Election Night party at a swanky Bay Ridge steakhouse. “He has an absolute right to have a clean transition and we’ll have it.”
It wasn’t the first time he’d said similar words. The campaign between the pair was expected to end after the Democratic primary, when Mr. Thompson soundly beat the incumbent. But after initially promising to end his bid, Mr. Hynes decided to keep running on the Republican and Conservative Party lines, sparking anger among Democrats.
This time, Mr. Thompson breezed through the general election, leading Mr. Hynes percent 72 to 28 percent with 58 percent of precincts reporting, according to Associated Press returns.
“I had a great, great run,” reflected Mr. Hynes. “I’ve had a great public career and I’m sure I can tell you I’m not going to kick up my heels, relax, and read good books. I still have a lot to offer when the dust settles.”
The race between the men became one of the most bitter in recent in memory , with Mr. Hynes accusing Mr. Thompson, without providing substantial evidence, of allowing disgraced ex-Brooklyn Democratic Party boss Clarence Norman to steer Mr. Thompson’s victorious campaign. Mr. Thompson, in turn, painted Mr. Hynes as a failed prosecutor who obtained too many wrongful convictions and grew out-of-touch with minority communities.
The candidates traded repeated blows, with each accusing the other of being corrupt and unfit for the critical office. Ultimately, with the force of the Democratic establishment behind him, Mr. Thompson was able to prevail in a racially-divided contest: black communities overwhelmingly supported Mr. Thompson, while some white enclaves in the borough remained loyal to Mr. Hynes.
When Politicker asked if Mr. Hynes had any regrets about running in the general election, his supporters, clad in red behind him, shouted down the question.
“Not at all,” Mr. Hynes added, quietly.