UPDATE: Richard Ojeda ends 2020 presidential campaign

Published: Nov. 12, 2018 at 1:26 AM EST
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UPDATE: 1/25/2019

Richard Ojeda, who resigned from his West Virginia Senate seat on January 14th, announced on January 25th that he is ending his 2020 presidential campaign.

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, but lost that race to Republican Carol Miller.

In a resignation letter sent on Jan. 24, Ojeda said he was giving up his state Senate seat to focus on his 2020 presidential race.

Ojeda released this statement on Friday, Jan. 25:

"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

Gov. Jim Justice announced on Thursday the appointment of Paul Hardesty to the 7th Senatel District seat vacated by the resignation of Richard Ojeda, who has begun campaigning for president in 2020.

The district covers all of Boone, Lincoln, Logan, and parts of Mingo and Wayne counties.

Hardesty is the managing member of Capitol Concepts, a government-relations firm.

He resigned his position as president of the Logan County Board of Education on Thursday, where he served for the past 25 years. 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.

Hardesty and his wife Debby live in Holden, West Virginia.

UPDATE: 1/15/2019

West Virginia State Senator Richard Ojeda, who plans to run for President in 2020, officially submitted his resignation from the Senate on Monday.

In a resignation letter submitted Monday to Senate President Mitch Carmichael, Ojeda says, in part, "It has been an honor to serve in this revered Chamber and to have been entrusted with protecting and furthering the good works for the citizens who elected me and for West Virginians as a whole. Frustrating at times, yes, but a true honor."

In the letter, Ojeda also said he hopes lawmakers can pass "a clean bill" to fund Governor Jim Justice's promised raises for teachers statewide and fix the problems surrounding the Public Employees Insurance Agency.

You can read Senator Richard Ojeda's entire resignation letter in the .PDF document seen in the "Related Documents" section of this story.

ORIGINAL STORY: 11/12/2018

Richard Ojeda, a West Virginia State Senator, plans to run for President in 2020.

According to our sister station WSAZ, the Federal Election Commission, Ojeda filed to run on Sunday.

A campaign source said an official campaign announcement will happen on Monday.

Stay with WTAP and WTAP.COM for the latest updates.