NY Times Kenneth P. Thompson, a former federal prosecutor, performed the rare feat of defeating a sitting district attorney by beating Brooklyn’s six-term incumbent, Charles J. Hynes, on Tuesday in the Democratic primary.
The primary followed a fierce race that often seemed more a referendum on Mr. Hynes’s lengthy record than a choice between two candidates. Though Mr. Hynes had faced serious and sometimes divided opposition before, this year’s race pitted the 78-year-old district attorney against a single well-financed candidate who rallied anti-Hynes sentiment in the borough. Mr. Thompson, 47, used a torrent of negative publicity about prosecutorial behavior in Mr. Hynes’s office to paint the incumbent as unethical and out of touch. [...]
More recently, Mr. Hynes was forced to backtrack or re-evaluate several murder convictions from the early part of his tenure, and was dogged by his handling of cases in Brooklyn’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish communities, most of whose leaders endorsed him.
Mr. Hynes was seen as slow to prosecute child sexual abuse allegations against ultra-Orthodox Jews because of rabbinical resistance, but stepped up abuse prosecutions in the last year, and won a significant case involving a therapist who sexually abused a young patient.
This put Mr. Hynes, politically, in somewhat of a precarious position, as some ultra-Orthodox Jews resented the prosecutions. But one Hasidic voter, who would only give his first name, Martin, said he had chosen Mr. Hynes at the strong urging of the community’s religious leaders. “The leaders told us he’d be better for us,” he said.[...]