NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – Kenneth Thompson was elected district attorney in Brooklyn Tuesday night, defeating longtime incumbent Charles “Joe” Hynes, who refused to accept defeat after a bruising Democratic primary.
With 58 percent of precincts reporting Tuesday, Thompson was leading with 72 percent of the vote.
Thompson, 48, will be the borough’s first African-American district attorney. He beat Hynes during the Democratic primary in September, the first time in a century a sitting district attorney was ousted.
Hynes then campaigned as a Republican.
“I think that people will look at my record of nearly 24 years where Brooklyn changed from the fifth most violent place in America in 1990 to a place 13 years later Money Magazine said is one of the 10 best places to live in America. That compared to Thompson’s slim resume,” Hynes told WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell before the election.
Hynes said Thompson twice turned down the chance to debate Hynes at the Brooklyn Bar Association.
PHOTOS: Election Day 2013
“The reason is quite simple; he can’t explain to a group of lawyers how someone with 5 years as a federal prosecutor was never promoted to a supervisory position, how someone who has no experience in the New York State state criminal justice system could take over an office that is one of the largest in the country.”
Thompson is a former federal prosecutor. He said he wants to change the culture of the office and bring in new technology.
Before the results were in, he said he was confident they would be similar to the outcome of the primary. He said the people of Brooklyn spoke once and made it clear they want a new top prosecutor.
“It’s extraordinary that Joe Hynes has to investigate 50 homicide cases to determine if there are any more innocent people still in prison because they’ve been wrongfully convicted under his watch. That has never happened in the history of this city with any other DAs office. Hasn’t happened anywhere in the country,” Thompson said. “That’s why that district attorney’s office is in crisis and it’s in crisis because of the failed leadership of Joe Hynes.”
Thompson handily beat Hynes in the primary, forcing Hynes to run on the Republican and Conservative party lines. After the defeat, Hynes initially said he wouldn’t pursue the seat.
The Brooklyn DA’s office is one of the nation’s busiest prosecutor offices and handles more than 80,000 cases a year.
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