Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, defeated in the Democratic primary last month, said he decided to get back into the race on the GOP line after hearing that a former party boss he prosecuted was behind his opponent’s campaign — and Kenneth Thompson’s denial of it.
“It certainly influenced me,” Hynes, who will make an official announcement Tuesday, told the Daily News. “Not just that Norman ran Thompson’s campaign. But that Thompson and Norman both deny it.”
Hynes lost his seventh reelection to Thompson in a low attendance Sept. 10 Democratic primary. He said that despite a post-primary agreement to drop out, a deluge of calls from supporters, and a successful fundraiser last week, convinced him to run in the general election.
More than 50 community leaders raised $150,000 for Hynes at a Bay Ridge diner last Tuesday. They urged him to run, laying out a path to victory with Republican votes, as well as Democrats who stayed home in the primary.
“Right after Primary Day, I said I would not run unless there were financial resources and a clear path to victory,” Hynes said. “I didn’t see either at first. Then I started getting inundated with phone calls, texts and emails from supporters from all over Brooklyn urging me to run.”
Thompson’s margin of victory was 55 to 44 percent, or 18,000 more voters. A higher turnout in the general election, Hynes was told, would wipe out that margin.
But what angered him the most after his loss, Hynes said, was that former Brooklyn Democratic Party chairman Clarence Norman, who served time in prison after Hynes prosecuted him for corruption, ran Thompson’s ground operation as a way of getting even.
“Not only is Thompson inexperienced and unqualified … but a convicted felon was running his campaign,” Hynes said. “And lying about it. I don’t think the people of Brooklyn want a DA who is beholden to a corrupt, machine boss ex-con.”
Thompson has denied that Norman had anything to do with the campaign. But media reports cited four African-American officials who said Norman called them personally.
“How could I sit back and let one of the felons I sent to prison help elect and influence my successor without at least a real old-fashioned Brooklyn fight?” he said.