Richard Ojeda has been described as a “one-man blue wave” in West Virginia, one of the nation’s reddest states. He believes energy companies should pay more in Texas so that teachers could have better benefits. He’s spoken out against “bought-and-paid for politicians.” The West Virginia State Senator also led the passing of a bill legalizing medical marijuana. In 2016, he voted for President Donald Trump. Now, he wants to unseat him in 2020.
On Monday – nearly a week after he lost his bid for Congress, where he faced off against Republican Carol Miller – he announced he was running. “I’m Richard Ojeda, and I’m running for the President of the United States of America,” he said at Washington DC’s Korean War Veterans Memorial. The US Army vet filed the paperwork on Sunday with the Federal Election Commission.
“I think I relate to the people far more than what the President can ever relate to these people,” he also said on Monday. “The very people he comes down to West Virginia and stands in front of could never afford one single round of golf in some of his fancy country clubs. That’s not where I stand.”
Ojeda, who identifies as a Democrat and pronounces his last name oh-JED-ah, is critical of his party, stating that it’s controlled by special-interest groups and wealthy donors. He wants the party to embrace its blue collar roots.
In 2016, Ojeda, whose grandfather immigrated from Mexico to West Virginia, voted for Trump, which will likely be hard for some to look past. “I voted for him because it was about family and friends,” he said. “Nobody else was saying anything. Hillary Clinton was coming here blowing smoke up everybody’s ass. Hell, I wanted Bernie Sanders, but once Bernie Sanders was screwed over by Hillary Clinton, by the way, you had no other option.”
Now, he’s said he regrets his decision because Trump “hasn’t done shit.”
“It’s been a friggin’ circus for a solid ear,” he said. “All he’s done is shown that he’s taking care of the daggone people he’s supposed to be getting rid of.”