A West Virginia state senator and Army veteran who lost a bid for congress in the 2018 midterms now has his sights set on running for president in 2020.
According to a statement of organization filed with the Federal Election Commission, Richard Ojeda has established a campaign committee to run for the nation’s highest office as a Democrat.
One of Ojeda’s campaign staffers confirmed the 2020 presidential bid and said a media advisory with more details, including information on a formal announcement, is expected Monday.
Ojeda lost in Tuesday’s election in the race for the U.S. House of Representatives in West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District. Republican Carol Miller pulled in 56.41 percent of the vote to Ojeda’s 43.59 percent in the midterm contest, according to unofficial numbers from the Secretary of State’s office.
In a concession speech in Logan County on election night, Ojeda — who still has two years left in his term representing the state Senate’s 7th District covering Boone, Lincoln, Logan and parts of Mingo and Wayne counties — indicated he wasn’t finished in politics.
“This isn’t the result we wanted, or the result we worked so hard for. But make no mistake about it, this is not the end of my fight, and it is definitely not the end of our fight together,” he told of crowd of supporters.
The 24-year Army veteran rose to prominence during the 2018 West Virginia Legislature’s regular session as a galvanizing figure of the teacher strike.
During his 2018 campaign for Congress, President Donald Trump endorsed Miller and called Ojeda “stone cold crazy.” But Ojeda was undeterred by the Trump’s remarks and his one-time support of the president turned to sharp criticism after seeing little changes in the economic landscape around his district.
An email sent Sunday to supporters of Ojeda’s congressional run hinted at a bid for higher office and — by later that night — he had changed his Twitter handle from @Ojeda4congress to @VoteOjeda2020.
“When I decided to run for Congress in WV-03, I had one mission in mind — to improve the lives of the people in West Virginia,” the email states.
In the email, Ojeda continues on to mention that he had received letters of support from others around the country about their own problems related to the affordability of higher education, the economy and substance abuse disorders.
“That’s when I realized — families in Logan West Virginia were going through the same struggles as families in the Bronx, San Francisco and Houston. This is not a West Virginia problem. This is an American problem and it has to change,” he wrote.
According to the email, additional details are expected Monday at noon.
West Virginia Public Broadcasting’s Molly Born contributed to this story.