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Days After Resigning from West Virginia Senate, Ojeda Suspends 2020 Presidential Bid

Will Price
West Virginia Legislative Photography

Former West Virginia state Senator Richard Ojeda has announced he is dropping out of his bid seeking the Democratic nomination for president in 2020. The announcement comes just over two weeks that Ojeda announced he would leave the Senate and ten days after his resignation became effective.

In a Facebook post Friday, Ojeda painted a picture of what it is like to run for the nation’s highest office. The field of Democratic hopefuls for the party’s nomination has grown in recent weeks.

“When I was a child my grade school teachers told us all that anyone in America could grow up and become President.  I now realize that this is not the case,” he wrote. “Unless someone has extreme wealth or holds influence and power it just isn’t true. Especially if you dare to step out of line and challenge the powers that be. The big donors won’t take your calls, the media won’t say your name, and the establishment will do everything they can to crush you.”

Ojeda was replaced in the West Virginia Senate by Paul Hardesty, a former lobbyist for Republican Gov. Jim Justice. The Army veteran and former Senator then attempted to rescind his resignation upon learning Hardesty would be his replacement.

However, even prior to formally submitting a letter of resignation, Ojeda acknowledged rumors that Hardesty would replace him.

Ojeda announced his campaign for president less than a week after losing a race for the 3rd Congressional District to Carol Miller, a Republican backed by President Donald Trump. During the campaign, the president called Ojeda “stone cold crazy.”


Ojeda has said he voted for Trump in the 2016 election. 

Over the course of his half term in the West Virginia Senate, Ojeda championed legislation allowing for medical use of cannabis and also was a darling of public educators who had walked off the job demanding better pay and benefits.

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