Ben Chin, the Democratic candidate in the Lewiston, Maine, mayoral race, denounced signs posted recently on two buildings that depict him as Ho Chi Minh as racist.
The signs read, “Don’t vote for Ho Chi Chin; Vote for more jobs not welfare,” according to the Portland Press Herald. The red signs with yellow print include a picture of Ho Chi Minh.
“The future of Lewiston is too important to be sidetracked by filth like this. Macdonald’s friends can plaster racist caricatures over every building in town; it will only make me fight harder to bring people together to revitalize Lewiston and improve our city’s reputation,” Chin said in a statement.
— Sun Journal (@sunjournal) October 19, 2015
Joe Dunne, the owner of the two buildings, claimed responsibility for the signs, though he removed one of the signs due to tenant complaints, the Lewiston-Auburn Sun Journal reported.
Dunne told the Sun Journal on Monday that he posted the signs to retaliate against Chin, who Dunne says called him a slumlord.
“My point is that the guy is out there slamming me all over the place, putting pamphlets in people’s doors calling me a corporate slumlord, putting my home address out there and going into the schools to tell my daughter her parents are slumlords,” Dunne said. “He’s been kind of abusive to me, so I figured I’d fight back a little bit.”
Chin is the political director for the Maine People’s Alliance, a group that recently released a report listing Dunne as one of the worst landlords in Lewiston.
Chin’s rival in the race, Republican incumbent Robert Macdonald, has a history of racist remarks. The Maine Beacon noted that in 2012 Macdonald made comments that Somali immigrants should “leave your culture at the door” and said that “white do-gooders” caused Somali women to be less “submissive.” Following the remarks, the Maine People’s Alliance called for the mayor to resign.
However, Macdonald denounced the signs and said he asked for them to be taken down, according to the Sun Journal.
“I asked them, ‘Please don’t do this,’ and told them it is only going to come back on me and people are going to think I’m responsible for it and I am not, ” Macdonald said. “The person responsible for that is also supporting another candidate and it’s not me.”
One sign was posted above the offices for the Mastrogiacomo law firm. Matthew Mastrogiacomo condemned the signs on Facebook.
The Maine Republican Party also distanced itself from the signs with a tweet from the party’s executive director.
— Jason Savage (@jsavage207) October 19, 2015