NPR logo One Man, One Message: The Rent (It's Too High)


One Man, One Message: The Rent (It's Too High)

The star of  New York's gubernatorial debate last night was, by all accounts, candidate Jimmy McMillan — representing the party he founded, the Rent Is Too Damn High Party.


His dogged pursuit of one issue — but one with, as he is quick to point out, wide-ranging effects — has made McMillan an Internet favorite. Even Rochester Mayor Robert Duffy, the running-mate of Andrew Cuomo, couldn't argue with the RITDH party line after Monday's debate.

“I think the rent is high," he told the AP. Duffy admitted not knowing McMillan, but allowed, "he was very consistent and on message throughout the night.”

McMillan also vied to live in Gracie Mansion in 2006, running on (you guessed it) the same platform. Back then, WNYC reported on New York's proliferation of candidates governor, noting that McMillan had collected 15,000 petition signatures in order to be in the race.

That's not a large number for a state as big as New York. But I was still surprised to read today at The New York Observer that only three people in the entire state are registered members of McMillan's party.

A Vietnam veteran who is clearly concerned about rent costs, it's nice to see McMillan getting some attention. And I'm glad he didn't have to scale the Brooklyn Bridge with a machete to do it — as he is reported to have done in 2005.

And McMillan's performance last night may give him new momentum — it already won him the endorsement of another special-interest group: the American Mustache Institute.