Kings County Politics

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By Stephen Witt

Hynes a long shot to beat Thompson in general election

While most of Central Brooklyn continues to rally behind Kings County District Attorney Democratic Nominee Ken Thompson, several pockets of Southern Brooklyn appears positively giddy that current DA Joe Hynes, a lifelong Democrat, has decided to challenge Thompson on the Republican and Conservative Party line next month in the general election.

And while Thompson remains the odds-on favorite to again beat Hynes, whom he trounced by 10 percentage points in the primary, it is by no means a sure thing.

“A lot of Democratic money came in at Hynes’ recent fundraiser and there will be a lot of Republican money backing him,” said Bay Ridge GOP State Sen. Marty Golden, the highest-ranking Republican elected official in Brooklyn. “A lot of Democrats favor his candidacy and will be crossing over to him, and between that crossover vote and the Republican and Conservative Party vote, I think he has a good shot.”

Among the pockets of Southern Brooklyn where the Hynes vote is expected to be strongest includes Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst, Bath Beach and particularly both the Sephardic Jewish neighborhood around southern Ocean Parkway and the Orthodox Jewish vote in Borough Park. This segment of the Jewish vote is both fairly conservative and have benefitted from Hynes’s alleged favoritism regarding prosecution of Jews accused of sexual abuse and other felony crimes.

Among the Democrats who may silently be backing Hynes is City Councilman David Greenfield, who strongly backed Hynes in the primary. While Greenfield did not return calls for comment at press time, Golden said that Greenfield has spoken to Hynes about running in the general election.

But Kings County Democratic boss Frank Seddio, who backed Hynes in the primary, now strongly backs Thompson as the Democratic nominee, and said the rest of Kings County’s Democratic leaders are also solidly supporting Thompson.

“The Kings County Democratic Party is totally behind the Democratic candidate. All of our leadership and elected officials have endorsed Ken Thompson and will work for his election. I don’t anticipate any defections,” said Seddio.

Meanwhile, Hynes, who has a good record on instituting programs to prevent recidivism, continues to allege that Thompson had the strong help of convicted felon and former Kings County boss Clarence Norman.

Norman, however, remains popular among many of Central Brooklyn’s elected officials who point out that Norman did his time. They also point out that Hynes utilized convicted felons who have done their time and moved on.

Among those from Central Brooklyn who continues to support Hynes is Geoffrey Davis, brother of slain former City Councilman James Davis, who successfully ran against the old Norman machine that long-dominated Central Brooklyn politics.

“I’m not into party lines, I’m into the candidates. I’ve seen firsthand how Hynes has helped thousands of people through his Project Safe Surrender and Project Redirect,” said Davis. “He has been consistent with his programs and with my family’s Stop the Violence program.”

Davis said that because of the importance of the DA position every voter should have a chance to vote and not just the primary voters.

“In the general election he (Hynes) will get the Republican and Conservative line, and if he gets 30 percent of Democratic votes, he has a shot because he has name brand,” said Davis, noting that he will work with whoever wins.

 

Bay Ridge City Council Race heats up

If Hynes does do well in the Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights and Bath Beach area, this might also spell trouble for incumbent City Councilman Vincent Gentile, who is running against Golden’s deputy chief of staff John Quaglione.

“When I first got in the race I knew it was an uphill battle, but as I go door to door every day and visit churches and community and senior centers my message is beginning to catch on that this has been a neglected community under Gentile,” said Quaglione.

Quaglione noted that Gentile, who is running for his third term despite voting against extending the term limits four years ago, ranks 50th among City Council members for bringing money back home to the district.

“People see graffiti coming back and the quality of life going down,” said Quaglione.

Gentile’s campaign had no comment at press time, but at a recent debate Gentile said his City Council record includes passing a bill to lower restaurant fines, restoring the B37 bus and bringing an Eco Dock to the 69th Street Pier.

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