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UPDATE: Former W.Va. Sen. Richard Ojeda pulls out of U.S. presidential race

(WSAZ)
Published: Nov. 11, 2018 at 11:18 PM EST
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UPDATE 1/25/19 @ 3:45 p.m.

Former state Sen. Richard Ojeda announced Friday that he is pulling out of the race for U.S. president.

Ojeda, who was a Democratic senator for the 7th district of West Virginia, ran last year for a U.S. House seat in West Virginia's 3rd Congressional district. He lost that race to Republican Carol Miller.

Earlier this month, Ojeda said he was giving up his state Senate seat to focus on the presidential race.

Ojeda released this statement on Friday:

"Today I want to thank from the bottom of my heart all the people who have supported and believed in this campaign. The indications were very positive from an overwhelming response to our videos, to thousands of volunteers, and a level of grassroots fundraising support that grew every day. However, the last thing I want to do is accept money from people who are struggling for a campaign that does not have the ability to compete. So today I am announcing that I am suspending this campaign.

"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. 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.

I want you to know though that my fight does not end! I may not have the money to make the media pay attention but I will continue raising my voice and highlighting the issues the working class, the sick and the elderly face in this nation.

I expect to have an announcement very soon about what my next steps will be. But know this, this campaign was never about me but about the issues we care about, checking big pharma, ending corruption and elevating the working class citizen. Nothing and no one can stop me from fighting for what’s right. Sappers clear the way. Airborne all the way."


UPDATE 1/17/19 @ 7:34 p.m.

West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice has appointed Paul Hardesty to the 7th Senatorial District seat vacated by the resignation of Richard Ojeda.

Hardesty resigned from his post as the president of the Logan County Board of Education Thursday following his appointment.

He served as a member of the Logan County BOE for 25 years.

As a state senator he will represent the district that covers all of Boone, Lincoln, Logan, and parts of Mingo and Wayne counties.

Hardesty, who lives in Holden, is the managing member of Capitol Concepts, a government relations firm.

He also served on the Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College Board of Governors and was the Director of the Office of Coalfield Development in the West Virginia Development Office.

Ojeda resigned from his state senatorial post Monday to focus on his bid in the 2020 U.S. Presidential Primary.


UPDATE 1/15/19 @ 12:04 p.m.

West Virginia Sen. Richard Ojeda submitted a formal resignation letter to the state Senate president Monday. He is stepping down from his Senate seat to focus on his presidential campaign.

In the

, Ojeda says "it would be unfair to leave his seat empty, with no voice for my district as I pursue my charted course."

A representative previously told WSAZ that Ojeda is not going to be a part-time representative for the people in his district and wants them to have same representation he was able to give in the past. He explained that Ojeda can't do that if he is missing part of the session and other important meetings as he runs for president of the United States.

Ojeda is a Democratic state senator for the 7th District of West Virginia. His resignation was effective at the close of business day Monday.

The county Democrat executive committee from his district will vote on three names of replacements to fill Ojeda's seat. The committee will meet at 2 p.m. Thursday in Chapmanville. Gov. Jim Justice will then pick one.

The deadline for applicants seeking to fill the seat is noon Wednesday, Jan. 16. According to the West Virginia Democratic Party, Boone County has a sitting senator, so applicants must come from Lincoln, Logan, Mingo, and Wayne counties.

Also in the

, Ojeda says that he was frustrated by "not having been able to do more" in his role as a senator for West Virginia. He also says he believes he "cannot help remedy other serious issues facing West Virginia by directly working within this body, within the state."

Ojeda, who is from Logan County, called his career as a senator frustrating at times, "but a true honor."

He also used the letter to urge lawmakers to pass "a clean bill" for an additional raise plus PEIA cash infusion for teachers in West Virginia -- a bill "that will not attack their hard-earned tenure." Additionally, Ojeda used the letter to talk about the benefits of medical cannabis, saying he's glad the West Virginia legislature

.

UPDATE 1/9/19 @ 4:55 p.m.

West Virginia Sen. Richard Ojeda has announced Wednesday that he will resign his senate seat to focus on his run for U.S. president.

According to a campaign representative, Ojeda, a Democrat from Logan County, will resign by Monday.

The representative says Ojeda is not going to be a part-time representative for the people in his district and wants them to have same representation he was able to give in the past. He explained that Ojeda can't do that if he is missing part of the session and other important meetings as he runs for president.

In last November's general election, Ojeda lost the U.S. House seat in West Virginia’s 3rd congressional district to Republican Carol Miller.

The process to choose Ojeda's replacement will go as follows: The county Democrat executive committee from his district will appoint five men and five women to choose three names, and Gov. Jim Justice will then pick one.


UPDATE 11/12/18 @ 12:32 p.m.

West Virginia State Sen. Richard Ojeda is running for president in 2020.

He officially made the announcement Monday afternoon in a live video on his Facebook page.

"We're going to do this together," he proclaimed. "I'm Richard Ojeda and I'm running for the president of the United States of America."

Last week in the General Election,

"I chose to run for Congress because I wanted to help the people in southern West Virginia," Ojeda said during the live announcement Monday. "We have not had people that have really fought for the working class citizens in this country."

You can watch the full video announcement attached to this article.


ORIGINAL STORY 11/11/18

West Virginia State Senator Richard Ojeda is running for president in 2020.

According to the Federal Election Commission, Ojeda filed to run for president on Sunday.

The official announcement will be Monday at noon, according to a campaign source.

No other information is available at this time.

Keep checking the WSAZ App and WSAZ.com for the latest information.