Why 'Rent Is Too Damn High' Candidate Will Never Be Governor

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Jimmy McMillan, New York's gubernatorial candidate for the Rent Is Too Damn High Party, was the clear crowd favorite of Monday's overstuffed debate. With his striking facial hair and non-sequitur one-liners, McMillan quickly charmed the commentariat. Granted, he probably never had much of a shot against Democrat Andrew Cuomo or Republican Carl Paladino, but it's becoming increasingly clear that parts of McMillan's record may doom his chances entirely--most seriously, that he seems to have some long-running grievances against Jewish people.

  • McMillan on the Jews...  The New York Times reports that McMillan "was called an anti-Semite during his mayoral run in 2005 for blaming rent problems on Jewish people." Athima Chansanchai at MSNBC goes into more detail, reprinting material, supposedly from a Web site McMillan maintained in 2009, claiming that "every religious group other than Judiasm are being run out" of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. "If you are not JEWISH you are 'PROHIBITED' from living in this area," the material reads. "After the world fought hard to free the JEWISH people from the hands of HITLER. They should be shame of themselves for discriminating in housing against the people in the State of New York especially in the city of Brooklyn."

  • ...And on 9/11 Conspiracies  The most serious charges come from blogger Gatemouth, at the New York political blog Room Eight, who reprints and links to online material, apparently authored by McMillan, that connects New York's Jewish community with the September 11 attacks. "If one is to take McMillan seriously," writes Gatemouth, "one must conclude from his words and his link that the 'fake Jews' he blames for 9/11 are Judaism's Reform and Conservative movements." Elsewhere, he notes that McMillan may get "a lot of white votes" in the coming election, "and that I would like to stop."

  • He's Also Not a Member of His Own Party  David Freedlander at The New York Observer notes that "McMillan is not one of the three registered members of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party ... McMillan, who twice ran under the RTDH banner for mayor and is now the party's standard-bearer for governor, is in fact a registered Democrat."

  • And He May Not Actually Pay Rent  McMillan recently told The New York Times that for the past few years, his Brooklyn landlords have allowed him to do maintenance work in exchange for paying rent. "I am basically living there rent free," McMillan said. This contradicts a Wall Street Journal story from only days before, where McMillan claimed to pay $800 a month in rent. The Times reports that "a few moments" after giving the details of his living situation, McMillan refused to confirm any of what he'd said, telling the reporter, 'Don't look for anything I say about my living space to be true.'"

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.