State Rep. Neil Abramson Targeted By Recall Petition

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Yesterday, Jefferson Parish political consultant Greg Buisson e-mailed me a statement from State Rep. Neil Abramson in response to my recent article about Abramson’s duplicitous campaign for Speaker of the Louisiana House of Representatives against fellow Democrat and New Orleanian Walt Leger. Quoting:

Lamar:
Attached is a statement from Representative Neil Abramson to your post on January 13, 2016 titled “State Rep. Neil Abramson (D-New Orleans) Sabotaged His Colleagues, His Party and His Governor.”  Would you please consider posting the Representative’s statement in its entirety below your post for all to read and better understand his position on this matter.
Thank you.

I’d personally asked Rep. Abramson for comment through his official e-mail account and Twitter, and despite the fact that he has responded to others about my article (responses that were, unbeknownst to the representative, forwarded to me), for whatever reason, Rep. Abramson has refused to answer any of my questions directly.

At the risk of appearing stubborn, I will not post a response, written under the letterhead of a political consultant’s company, on Rep. Abramson’s behalf. I consider the response inadequate and insulting. Among other things, Rep. Abramson claims that his “decision to support Taylor (Barras) makes me the only Democrat in New Orleans who may now be able to work closely with the Speaker to manage some of the important legislation for our region and critical policy-making.”

Fortunately, no one is buying Rep. Abramson’s excuses, including Mayor Mitch Landrieu, who called Rep. Abramson’s actions “inexplicable.” On Thursday night, the Orleans Parish Democratic Executive Committee passed a resolution repudiating Abramson, and a day before, constituents launched a repeal effort against him. Sources tell me that the effort is serious, well-organized, and bipartisan.

Rep. Abramson’s insistence that his support of Barras was a pragmatic attempt to ensure he would be “the only Democrat in New Orleans” capable of working with the new Speaker is belied by the reporting of Jeremy Alford. Quoting (bold mine):

While his showing was less then breathtaking, Abramson had hoped to gain last-minute support from white rural Democrats who had concerns about Leger’s anticipated committee assignments to urban lawmakers. Abramson’s candidacy also allowed Henry and Barras to suggest to Republicans who were considering supporting Leger that his base was breaking up and that Democrats would be going to Abramson’s surprise candidacy. Abramson was the only Democrat who supported Barras on the second ballot.

Having two votes on the floor was a strategic move as well. Henry and Barras needed their delegation to see on the board that Leger did not have the votes. It likewise permitted any Republican who might be with Leger in the first vote to switch their allegiance on the second ballot.

Alford’s reporting is also backed up by Jeff Adelson of The Advocate. Quoting (bold mine):

His Democratic critics say that his mere entry into the race reinforced Republican claims that Leger could be defeated. That may have weakened the resolve of GOP members Leger had courted, but Republican leaders were working to bring back into their fold.

They only got that vote from people that thought there was disorganization” in the ranks of Leger’s supporters, state Sen. Wesley Bishop told the parish committee’s leaders Thursday night.

Although he has relied on a political consultant to communicate his message, Abramson’s wife Kim has fiercely defended her husband on Twitter. Shortly after I published my initial story, Ms. Abramson attempted to silence and intimidate a 21-year-old student reporter at LSU for sharing and commenting on my story.

Ms. Abramson, a lawyer, contacted the Dean of LSU’s Manship School and the head editor of LSU’s student newspaper alleging that this young reporter was “harassing” her and her husband. An LSU official responded with a vigorous defense of the student’s right to criticize those in power. (I am in possession of these records, but because they involve an undergraduate, I will defer to the student before publishing the content in its entirety).

Rep. Abramson is a shareholder in a law firm representing large oil and gas companies and has been previously accused of illegally using his influence as a legislator to benefit his clients, including BP. It’s not too difficult to figure out what this is really about.