Jimmy McMillan
James "Jimmy" McMillan III (born December 1, 1946 in New Smyrna Beach, Florida
New Smyrna Beach, Florida
New Smyrna Beach is a city in Volusia County, Florida, United States. The population was 20,048 according to the 2000 census. As of 2007, the population recorded by the U.S. Census Bureau is 23,161.-History:...

) is an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 political activist, perennial candidate
Perennial candidate
A perennial candidate is one who frequently runs for public office with a record of success that is infrequent, if existent at all. Perennial candidates are often either members of minority political parties or have political opinions that are not mainstream. They may run without any serious hope...

, Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

 veteran, and karate expert, as well as a former postal worker and private investigator
Private investigator
A private investigator , private detective or inquiry agent, is a person who can be hired by individuals or groups to undertake investigatory law services. Private detectives/investigators often work for attorneys in civil cases. Many work for insurance companies to investigate suspicious claims...

 from Brooklyn, New York. He is best known as the founder of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party
Rent Is Too Damn High Party
The Rent Is Too Damn High Party is a political party in New York that has nominated candidates for mayor of New York City in 2005 and 2009 and for governor and senator in 2010. Jimmy McMillan was the mayoral candidate both times and a candidate for governor. In 2005, he received more than 4,000...

, a New York-based political party. McMillan has run for office at least six times since 1993, including in the 2010 New York gubernatorial election
New York gubernatorial election, 2010
The New York gubernatorial election of 2010 was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2010, to elect the Governor of New York, who will serve a four-year term to begin in January 2011. Incumbent Democratic Governor David Paterson, elected as Lieutenant Governor in 2006 as the running mate of former Governor...

 on the "Rent Is 2 Damn High" line. He declared on December 23, 2010, that he would run in the 2012 U.S. presidential election
United States presidential election, 2012
The United States presidential election of 2012 is the next United States presidential election, to be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2012. It will be the 57th quadrennial presidential election in which presidential electors, who will actually elect the President and the Vice President of the United...

 as a Republican.

Early campaigns

McMillan's first run for political office came in 1993, when he ran for Mayor of New York on the Rent Is Too Damn High ticket. In the course of that campaign, McMillan was at one point tied to a tree and doused with gasoline; he would later climb the Brooklyn Bridge
Brooklyn Bridge
The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the oldest suspension bridges in the United States. Completed in 1883, it connects the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn by spanning the East River...

 and refuse to come down from it unless television stations broadcast his message. He was ultimately disqualified from the ballot for coming 300 petition signatures short of the 7,500 needed to qualify for the general election ballot.

McMillan next ran for governor of New York in 1994 by traveling from his home in Brooklyn through upstate New York
Upstate New York
Upstate New York is the region of the U.S. state of New York that is located north of the core of the New York metropolitan area.-Definition:There is no clear or official boundary between Upstate New York and Downstate New York...

 to Buffalo on foot, staying in homeless shelters along the way; his original itinerary had him walking back to Brooklyn as well, but an injury in Rochester led to him taking a bus home. When he arrived in Buffalo, the site of the state Democratic convention, McMillan disrupted a speech by incumbent governor Mario Cuomo
Mario Cuomo
Mario Matthew Cuomo served as the 52nd Governor of New York from 1983 to 1994, and is the father of Andrew Cuomo, the current governor of New York.-Early life:...

 at the convention and was thrown out because of it. After failing to collect enough signatures to get onto the ballot, he continued in a write-in campaign.

The Federal Elections Commission has a record of McMillan entering himself in the United States presidential election, 1996
United States presidential election, 1996
The United States presidential election of 1996 was a contest between the Democratic national ticket of President Bill Clinton of Arkansas and Vice President Al Gore of Tennessee and the Republican national ticket of former Senator Bob Dole of Kansas for President and former Housing Secretary Jack...

 as a Republican; McMillan did not get onto any primary ballots.

McMillan was removed from the ballot during the 2000 U.S. Senate election in New York.

McMillan qualified for the November general election ballot for mayor of New York City in 2005 and 2009. In 2005, he received over 4000 votes (0.3% of the total vote). In 2009, he received 2615 votes.
McMillan received 13,355 votes in the 2006 gubernatorial election
New York gubernatorial election, 2006
The New York gubernatorial election of 2006 was a race for the governorship of this U.S. state. Eliot Spitzer was elected on November 7, 2006, succeeding Governor George Pataki, the three-term incumbent, who did not run for a fourth term....

, fifth place in a field of six candidates.

2010 gubernatorial campaign

For the 2010 campaign, McMillan filed petitions to appear on the Democratic primary ballot and the Rent Is Too Damn High line. However, McMillan put very little effort into the Democratic petitions, and the vast majority of the 13,350 signatures bearing his name were collected by Randy Credico
Randy Credico
Randy Credico , is an American political comedian and activist and the former Director of the . Once active on the comedy circuit, including an appearance on the Tonight Show at age 27, he began a seven year campaign against New York state's Rockefeller drug laws, which he thought were too harsh,...

, who had partnered with McMillan for a joint Democratic petition. Credico had counted on McMillan to collect 10,000 signatures to put his total at over 20,000, above the 15,000 required to get onto the ballot, but McMillan never followed through, leaving both candidates short of the necessary signatures to force a Democratic primary. Credico, in response, called McMillan a "jack-off" and a "sorry ass," accusing him of "working against me," "turn[ing] in a wagonload of blank pages and then [leaving] Albany in brand new automobiles." McMillan did file the necessary signatures to get onto the "Rent Is 2 Damn High" line; the petitions were technically invalid because they did not include a lieutenant governor candidate, but McMillan was allowed onto the ballot anyway because nobody challenged the petitions. During an appearance at a 2010 gubernatorial debate in which McMillan figured prominently, he stated his views on gay marriage, by saying "The Rent Is Too Damn High Party believes that if you want to marry a shoe, I'll marry you."

McMillan, perceived by many as a protest vote
Protest vote
A protest vote is a vote cast in an election to demonstrate the caster's unhappiness with the choice of candidates or refusal of the current political system...

, garnered 40,000 votes, enough to finish in fifth place out of seven, compared to winning Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Cuomo
Andrew Mark Cuomo is the 56th and current Governor of New York, having assumed office on January 1, 2011. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the 64th New York State Attorney General, and was the 11th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development...

's 2.5 million and second-place Carl Paladino
Carl Paladino
Carl Pasquale Paladino is an American businessman and political activist from Buffalo, New York. Paladino is the founder and chairman of Ellicott Development Company, a real estate development company he founded in 1973. He was the 2010 Republican nominee for the New York gubernatorial election,...

's 1.4 million. McMillan gained almost as many votes as Libertarian Party
Libertarian Party (United States)
The Libertarian Party is the third largest and fastest growing political party in the United States. The political platform of the Libertarian Party reflects its brand of libertarianism, favoring minimally regulated, laissez-faire markets, strong civil liberties, minimally regulated migration...

 candidate Warren Redlich
Warren Redlich
Warren Redlich is a lawyer and politician from Guilderland, New York. In 2004 and 2006, Redlich ran for US Congress for the 21st District of New York State as a Republican. In 2005, he briefly served as the Political Director of the Libertarian Party of New York. He is currently a town councilman...

 with 48,000 votes, and nearly double the votes of Anti-Prohibition Party candidate Kristin M. Davis.

Regarding his use of black gloves during the debate, "I’m a war vet," McMillan said. "Don’t forget I was in Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

 for two and half years and I have three Bronze Stars, but the chemicals of Agent Orange
Agent Orange
Agent Orange is the code name for one of the herbicides and defoliants used by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program, Operation Ranch Hand, during the Vietnam War from 1961 to 1971. Vietnam estimates 400,000 people were killed or maimed, and 500,000 children born with birth...

 -- dioxin
Polychlorinated dibenzodioxins , or simply dioxins, are a group of organic polyhalogenated compounds that are significant environmental pollutants. They are commonly but inaccurately referred to as dioxins for simplicity, because every PCDD molecule contains a dioxin skeletal structure as the...

 and a lot of other chemicals mixed up -- I would get sick. When I get home tonight, I know I’m not going to be able to breathe if I take them off. It could be psychological, I don’t know, but I just put em on and wear them anyway."

Jimmy McMillan's gubernatorial campaign was the subject of an independent, feature-length documentary titled DAMN!. Filmmakers Aaron Fisher-Cohen and Kristian Almgren documented McMillan throughout his campaign for Governor of New York, as well as the events immediately following McMillan's loss of the election. The film was an official selection at the Little Rock Film Festival in Arkansas, as well as at the Brooklyn Film Festival, but did not officially premiere until August 2011.

2012 presidential campaign

McMillan is a registered member of the Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

. On December 23, 2010, however, he said that he would switch parties and run as a Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 in the 2012 U.S. presidential election, to avoid a primary challenge from President Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

. He believes that his greatest political strengths include a mastery of social media, an ability to pinch pennies, and inimitable political vision. McMillan appeared at the Conservative Political Action Conference
Conservative Political Action Conference
The Conservative Political Action Conference is an annual political conference attended by conservative activists and elected officials from across the United States....

 in February 2011. He also appeared at Northeastern University in March 2011, through the Political Science Student Association, where he discussed key issues. McMillan campaigned during the Occupy Wall Street
Occupy Wall Street
Occupy Wall Street is an ongoing series of demonstrations initiated by the Canadian activist group Adbusters which began September 17, 2011 in Zuccotti Park, located in New York City's Wall Street financial district...

 protests, criticizing the protesters for voting for the wrong person but defending the protesters' right to protest.Jimmy McMillan Serenades Occupy Wall Street Protesters. Gothamist. Retrieved October 15, 2011.

Political positions

McMillan's political positions contain heavy influence from populist
Populism can be defined as an ideology, political philosophy, or type of discourse. Generally, a common theme compares "the people" against "the elite", and urges social and political system changes. It can also be defined as a rhetorical style employed by members of various political or social...

 principles. The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle described his 1994 platform as such: "While McMillan said he hopes to be a spokesman for the poor in his bid for Governor, his solutions make him sound more like a Republican."
  • McMillan has come out against federal bailouts, specifically the Wall Street Bailout of 2008 and the Obama Administration's bailout of General Motors
    General Motors
    General Motors Company , commonly known as GM, formerly incorporated as General Motors Corporation, is an American multinational automotive corporation headquartered in Detroit, Michigan and the world's second-largest automaker in 2010...

    . Referencing the bailout and his presidential run, he said of Obama: "If you don't do your job right, I am coming at you."
  • McMillan believes that global warming
    Global warming
    Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

     is a natural occurrence that occurs every 15,000 years. He disputes the idea that is caused by man and pollution, saying he "isn't buying [the] punk science" of Al Gore
    Al Gore
    Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. served as the 45th Vice President of the United States , under President Bill Clinton. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for President in the 2000 U.S. presidential election....

  • A supporter of same-sex marriage
    Same-sex marriage
    Same-sex marriage is marriage between two persons of the same biological sex or social gender. Supporters of legal recognition for same-sex marriage typically refer to such recognition as marriage equality....

    , McMillan joked in the 2010 gubernatorial debate he would allow marriage between a person and a shoe
    A shoe is an item of footwear intended to protect and comfort the human foot while doing various activities. Shoes are also used as an item of decoration. The design of shoes has varied enormously through time and from culture to culture, with appearance originally being tied to function...

    . After the Marriage Equality Act
    Marriage Equality Act
    The Marriage Equality Act is a 2011 New York State law that allows gender-neutral marriages for both same- and opposite-sex couples, while prohibiting state and local courts and governments from penalizing religious and religious-supervised institutions, their employees, or clergy for refusing to...

     passed, McMillan stated of same-sex couples "now you don’t have to marry a shoe, you can marry somebody."
  • On transvestites and transgendered people, McMillan says "When you see a guy walk down the street and he’s got a little skirt on, and he’s so happy. Why shouldn’t you be happy? This is America, it’s beautiful to watch someone different."
  • McMillan, as founder of the Rent Is Too Damn High Party
    Rent Is Too Damn High Party
    The Rent Is Too Damn High Party is a political party in New York that has nominated candidates for mayor of New York City in 2005 and 2009 and for governor and senator in 2010. Jimmy McMillan was the mayoral candidate both times and a candidate for governor. In 2005, he received more than 4,000...

    , is against high rent and property taxes for homeowners. He believes that lowering rent and cutting taxes will ease financial stress and help eradicate hunger and poverty, as well as raise tax revenue. He surmises that reducing rent would "create 3 to 6 million jobs" by freeing up capital to give businesses a chance to hire people. He also favors tax credits for commuters.
  • McMillan and the party are in favor of writing off all taxes owed to the state, consolidating the rent boards in New York, seizure of unoccupied apartment buildings, reforming the state court system, and free college tuition.
  • McMillan is in favor of having fixed rate of low rent across America, which would be the same regardless of property value. He states that adjusting the rent for property value "is a bunch of crap" and "a scheme to run out the poor."
  • McMillan supports allowing laws to be influenced by Christianity
    Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

    . His website states that "we need more reliance on the moral laws brought by religion and not limit out goodwill to our neighbors and co-workers to what the law demands alone." He also spoke of "restoring family values" and making sure that one parent remains at home to watch children.
  • McMillan and the party oppose any spending cuts to education or elderly care services.
  • McMillan has called for investigations of, and has sought to increase awareness of, fraud and Ponzi scheme
    Ponzi scheme
    A Ponzi scheme is a fraudulent investment operation that pays returns to its investors from their own money or the money paid by subsequent investors, rather than from any actual profit earned by the individual or organization running the operation...

    s in the real estate markets.
  • Of his potential Republican opponents for the Presidential nomination, he thinks of Newt Gingrich
    Newt Gingrich
    Newton Leroy "Newt" Gingrich is a U.S. Republican Party politician who served as the House Minority Whip from 1989 to 1995 and as the 58th Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999....

     as a "good liar" in the vein of John Edwards
    John Edwards
    Johnny Reid "John" Edwards is an American politician, who served as a U.S. Senator from North Carolina. He was the Democratic nominee for Vice President in 2004, and was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004 and 2008.He defeated incumbent Republican Lauch Faircloth in...

     and that "people look at him and laugh," Mitt Romney
    Mitt Romney
    Willard Mitt Romney is an American businessman and politician. He was the 70th Governor of Massachusetts from 2003 to 2007 and is a candidate for the 2012 Republican Party presidential nomination.The son of George W...

     as a "good-looking guy [that] will keep the ladies from looking at me." He has also stated that he loves Sarah Palin
    Sarah Palin
    Sarah Louise Palin is an American politician, commentator and author. As the Republican Party nominee for Vice President in the 2008 presidential election, she was the first Alaskan on the national ticket of a major party and first Republican woman nominated for the vice-presidency.She was...

     and holds an extremely negative view of New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg
    Michael Bloomberg
    Michael Rubens Bloomberg is the current Mayor of New York City. With a net worth of $19.5 billion in 2011, he is also the 12th-richest person in the United States...

    . He views current governor Andrew Cuomo
    Andrew Cuomo
    Andrew Mark Cuomo is the 56th and current Governor of New York, having assumed office on January 1, 2011. A member of the Democratic Party, he was the 64th New York State Attorney General, and was the 11th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development...

     as a do-nothing and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie as "just a big mouth (...) New Jersey is crumbling just like every state in the union."

Personal life

McMillan is single and has two adult children; the elder child is a daughter (age 38 as of 2011) whom McMillan claims developed disabilities as a result of his exposure to Agent Orange, and the younger is a son (James McMillan IV, age 32 as of 2011), who currently serves in the U.S. military. McMillan served in the United States Army
United States Army
The United States Army is the main branch of the United States Armed Forces responsible for land-based military operations. It is the largest and oldest established branch of the U.S. military, and is one of seven U.S. uniformed services...

 during the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. After his time in Vietnam, he briefly spent time in the 1970s as an R&B recording artist; he claims to have spent a brief time at Brunswick Records
Brunswick Records
Brunswick Records is a United States based record label. The label is currently distributed by E1 Entertainment.-From 1916:Records under the "Brunswick" label were first produced by the Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company...

 before leaving the label to do independent work. McMillan graduated from Barkley Private Security Investigations Academy prior to 1993. He admits to smoking marijuana
Cannabis (drug)
Cannabis, also known as marijuana among many other names, refers to any number of preparations of the Cannabis plant intended for use as a psychoactive drug or for medicinal purposes. The English term marijuana comes from the Mexican Spanish word marihuana...

 in the past, and he states that his favorite film is Deep Throat
Deep Throat (film)
Deep Throat is a 1972 American pornographic film written and directed by Gerard Damiano and produced by Louis Peraino and starring Linda Lovelace ....


According to an interview with the New York Times, McMillan does not currently pay rent on a Flatbush
Flatbush, Brooklyn
Flatbush is a community of the Borough of Brooklyn, a part of New York City, consisting of several neighborhoods.The name Flatbush is an Anglicization of the Dutch language Vlacke bos ....

 apartment he has claimed as his residence and he has not done so since the 1980s but pays with maintenance services provided to the landlord. His landlord apparently allows him to reside in his apartment for free in exchange
Barter is a method of exchange by which goods or services are directly exchanged for other goods or services without using a medium of exchange, such as money. It is usually bilateral, but may be multilateral, and usually exists parallel to monetary systems in most developed countries, though to a...

 for performing maintenance work on his apartment building. He had previously told the Wall Street Journal that he pays rent of $800 a month for his apartment, but told the New York Times that he definitely did not pay rent. He pays the rent for an apartment McMillan shares with his son in the East Village
East Village, Manhattan
The East Village is a neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan in New York City, lying east of Greenwich Village, south of Gramercy and Stuyvesant Town, and north of the Lower East Side...

 in Manhattan
Manhattan is the oldest and the most densely populated of the five boroughs of New York City. Located primarily on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson River, the boundaries of the borough are identical to those of New York County, an original county of the state of New York...

, which is $900 per month under current rent controls. The landlord of the East Village apartment is moving to evict McMillan on the grounds that McMillan lives in the Flatbush apartment and not in the East Village one; McMillan, who has held the apartment lease since 1977, claims that the Flatbush apartment is not his residence but instead an office for the Rent Is Too Damn High Party.


McMillan was portrayed by Kenan Thompson
Kenan Thompson
Kenan Thompson is an American actor and comedian. He is best known for his work as a cast member of NBC's long-running sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live...

 on Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live
Saturday Night Live is a live American late-night television sketch comedy and variety show developed by Lorne Michaels and Dick Ebersol. The show premiered on NBC on October 11, 1975, under the original title of NBC's Saturday Night.The show's sketches often parody contemporary American culture...

. Kenan Thompson kept saying "the rent is too damn high" to most of the questions mocking McMillan by making the joke that he only has one political view. McMillan praised the portrayal, saying that "that put me over the top... this election is over. Jimmy's gonna win it."

External links

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