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Charismatic Gov. Candidate McMillan Has NY Buzzing

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Jimmy McMillan of the Rent is 2 Damn High Party, running for New York State Governor, speaks during the gubernatorial debate at Hofstra University October 18, 2010 in Hempstead, New York. (Photo by Audrey C. Tiernan-Pool/Getty Images)

Jimmy McMillan of the Rent is 2 Damn High Party, running for New York State Governor, speaks during the gubernatorial debate at Hofstra University October 18, 2010 in Hempstead, New York. (Photo by Audrey C. Tiernan-Pool/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (CBS 2) — Jimmy McMillan pretty much stole the show during Monday night’s gubernatorial debate, repeatedly claiming that the “rent is too damn high,” but there are questions about the charismatic candidate’s past.

As CBS 2’s Pablo Guzman reports, one involves how much he pays for his own rent.

Ever since the debate, the Jimmy McMillan brand has been buzzing in New York.

His own rent at his primary apartment in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn is believed to be practically nothing, and it’s believed that he pays just $800 to $900 for his son to stay at St. Mark’s Place in the East Village. If you try to pin him down on that, however, McMillan says not to trust any answer he gives, because he’s trying to put the focus on something else.

“I don’t tell that. It’s not about me. I pay rent, but let’s talk about the people,” McMillan said.

There are also questions about remarks McMillan made about Jews when he once ran for mayor.

“People can’t afford to live here! If being anti-Semitic is fighting discrimination, and letting the word Jew come out of your mouth, then I’m anti-Semitic,” McMillan said. “If that’s what they feel, let it be.”

It’s certainly how the Anti-Defamation League feels, telling the Daily News that McMillan has “a proven record of posting anti-Semitic slurs.”

When compared to other politicians, people seem willing to enjoy the Jimmy McMillan show – but would they vote for him?

“I would welcome that, I might [vote for him],” Hell’s Kitchen resident Suzanne Morena said.

Does Morena find him interesting?

“Oh, absolutely, absolutely. Look at him!” she said.

“Young man, how much you pay in rent, you pay a lot of rent?” McMillan asked a man in the street. The man responded that he paid $2,100 a month.

“See! $2,100! This is what I’m fighting, I am fighting against it,” McMillan said. “It’s sad, it’s madness! He shouldn’t be paying that kind of money for rent to live in this doggone place, but you know why he’s paying it? Because people he voted for don’t even care!”

In case you’ve forgotten the name of his party, McMillan is happy to remind you.

“Jimmy McMillan, of the “Rent Is 2 Damn High” party, is not going to let that happen in the state of New York!” he said.

McMillan sure seems to have struck a nerve. He has run for various offices over the last 16 years, trying to bring attention to high rent. This is the first year, McMillan said, that he’s gotten a big response.

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