Presidential candidates Tweet support for Ben Chin in wake of racially charged smear attempt

In the wake of the controversy following the posting of racist signs attacking the ethnicity of Lewiston mayoral candidate Ben Chin, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders has voiced his support for Chin on Twitter.

In response, the Ben Chin for Mayor Facebook page posted a link to the Tweet with the caption, “Thank you, Bernie Sanders.”

The signs were put up by Lewiston landlord Joe Dunne, who Chin has been critical of during the campaign, referring to him as a “slumlord.” They feature yellow, Soviet-style hammers, sickles and stars, along with a cartoon caricature of Ho Chi Minh, and read “Don’t Vote for Ho Chi Chin. Vote for more jobs not more welfare.”

In response to the outrage, Dunne took the signs down on Monday, but has said that he’ll put them back up somewhere in the city.

“They will go back up, and they will be visible,” Dunne told the Sun Journal’s Scott Taylor.

Less than an hour after the Sanders Tweet, Hillary Clinton showed her support for Chin with a Retweet:

The Ben Chin for Mayor page responded in similar fashion as they did to the earlier post, saying simply, “Thank you, Hillary Clinton.”

As of Tuesday evening, Chin’s opponent in the race, incumbent Robert Macdonald has not yet said anything to condemn the signs, although he did say that he knew about the plan to hang them and asked Dunne not to go through with it- not because it’s a hateful, harmful, vile thing to do- but because it would come back on him and hurt his chances for reelection.

What do you think?

Chris Shorr

About Chris Shorr

Chris is a sixth generation Portlander who loves all things Maine. He has worked with mentally ill and marginalized adults at a Portland non-profit, on a lobster boat in Casco Bay, at several high-end Portland restaurants, and at a local meat packing plant. He also ran for Portland City Council in 2013, wrote a weekly column in the now defunct Portland Daily Sun, and currently writes a weekly column in The Portland Phoenix.