New York gubernatorial candidate Jimmy McMillan, of the Rent is Too Damn High Party, at a debate in New York in 2010. (AUDREY TIERNAN/ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Jimmy McMillan, recognizable by his Imperial-style white mustache, sideburns and goatee, says he pays $872.96 for a rent-controlled ground-floor apartment on St. Marks Place in the East Village, which he's had since the late 1970s, when the rent was about $275.

McMillan says his landlords are now kicking him out so they can charge a higher rent.

“I've been here since 1977, and they want more money!” McMillan said. “It's about ‘My Rent is Too Damn Low.’ ”

McMillan ran for New York governor five times before founding his populist tenants-rights political party “The rent is too damn high” and running on that platform. McMillan is also a Vietnam war veteran, former postal worker and private investigator, and a self-proclaimed karate expert. He is planning a 2012 run for the White House, when he is not busy trying not to get evicted.

“Maybe the landlord doesn't know, but he can't bulldog me because I know the law,” McMillan says.

Watch McMillan talk about karate, gay marriage and rent in a New York government debate in October 2010: