There is a lot to celebrate about last night’s electoral defeat of Charles Joe Hynes. At last, with the victory Kenneth Thompson, we have a shot at honest constructive prosecution in Brooklyn. What is now obvious was not a given. As the New York Times pointed out, “Mr. Hynes is one of the longest-serving district attorneys in a city where unseating district attorneys is considered next to impossible.”
Many people contributed to this victory, not least Ken Thompson and the able campaign team he assembled. I want to focus on the man who first raised the banner and made the defeat of Joe Hynes thinkable.
Abe George took on this very long-shot gamble way before anyone else and emphasized Hynes’ shameful failure to protect Jewish children from sex abuse. It was a morally based, but politically risky, position because it meant Abe George entered the race with the predictable opposition of most of the orthodox Jewish leadership. His judgement was vindicated by the fact that Thompson took the same position, lost the endorsements of both Satmar factions, but nevertheless won by a 10% margin.
Abe George also made it clear early on that this was about defeating Hynes, and if necessary he would withdraw rather than split the opposition vote. He was good to his word, and did withdraw when it became clear that Thompson had better prospects of winning. He also made sure to remove his name from the ballot. Then he went one better and worked energetically to promote Thompson’s victory.
Abe, I thank you for rising above any personal disappointment and sticking to your promise to help us get better prosecutor in Brooklyn.
I also want to thank John K. O’hara who ably handled the intricate job of securing your candidacy petition signatures. John, congratulations on finally realizing a dream for which you have worked so hard, and at so much personal cost, for decades.