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Palmer, Brossett reportedly endorse each other for City Council seat in move against competitor

 New Orleans Chief Administrative Officer Gilbert Montano speaks in front the City Council, on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.
New Orleans Chief Administrative Officer Gilbert Montano speaks in front the City Council, on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021.

Two candidates running for a hotly contested City Council seat have unusual endorsements for their campaigns: each other.

In a Times-Picayune article published Tuesday, councilmembers Kristin Gisleson Palmer and Jared Brossett urged voters to pick either candidate for the Division 2 at-large council seat when they head to the polls in November, as long as it's not their competitor, former State Sen. JP Morrell.

Palmer and Brossett made several claims against Morell, his voting record and lobbying during his time as a lawyer and a State Senator, including one instance in which Morrell lobbied the council on land-use issues while working as a representative.

"When you talk about the City Council, which deals with land-use and budget, and to have somebody who basically made money off of that process ... it's troublesome," Palmer said in a joint interview with Brossett on Tuesday.

The pair questioned Morrell's voting record on education. In 2008, Morrell said he voted against a bill that would take funding for public education and finance private schools. But Brossett said in 2012 Morrell voted for a 2012 measure that amended the school voucher program, according to the Times-Picayune.

Palmer accused Morrell of transferring money from the New Orleans Recreation Department Commission to give to the NOPD. Morrell denied Palmer’s allegation, and in order to pay for NOPD bulletproof vests, he said he worked with former U.S. Rep. Cedric Richmond to split the funds generated from the Causeway toll to give to both entities.

The State Senator was also accused of lobbying councilmembers about a potential Cuban restaurant in the French Quarter and a Perez Architects redevelopment project in the Lower 9th Ward, according to The Times-Picayune. In Morell’s defense, he said his job as a lawyer has made him "extremely limited in his interaction with government agencies and elected officials."

The Perez Architecture firm, which has designed many New Orleans municipal projects, donated $5,000 to Morrell's campaign in June.

Morrell called the attacks “political theater” and his campaign said to NOLA.com that the claims from Palmer and Brossett were "bizarre and desperate attacks and collusion from corrupt incumbent opponents."

“After eight years on the City Council and nothing to show for it between them but scandals, and a city that doesn't work for the average New Orleanian, Kristin Palmer and Jared Brossett are begging for a promotion and desperately attempting to maintain their posh positions,” his campaign said.

The three are competing for the Division 2 at-large council race, which will be decided on November 13. Green Party Candidate Bart Everson is also running for the position.

Palmer and Brossett are termed out of their District C and D seats, respectively, and are now hoping for the role of the second At-Large position. The role of councilmember earns $90,000 a year and comes with a private car and driver.

Morrell took over his father's State Representative seat in a special election in 2006 and remained in the statehouse until 2020, with the final 12 years as a State Senator. His father, Arthur Morrell, served as a state representative for 24 years.

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