Former West Virginia state Sen. Richard Ojeda (D) dropped out of the presidential race on Friday, less than two weeks after he vacated his seat to launch his campaign.
In a 90-second video provided to The Intercept and the YouTube news program “The Young Turks,” Ojeda said he had come to the decision that his campaign wasn’t realistic.
“When I was a kid in grade school, my teachers always said that anyone could grow up and become president,” Ojeda said. “Unfortunately, what I’m starting to realize is that unless you have wealth, influence and power, it’s not gonna happen.”
The Army veteran and pro-coal populist Democrat said he couldn’t in good conscience ask people to continue donating “to a campaign that’s probably not gonna get off the ground.”
Just days earlier, Ojeda had resigned his state Senate seat to focus on the 2020 race. At the time he told news outlets he didn’t want to leave his constituents without representation while he was out on the campaign trail. West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice (R) on Jan. 17 appointed Paul Hardesty, former president of the Logan County Board of Education, to fill Ojeda’s vacated seat.
Ojeda announced his presidential run in November, after losing a congressional race against Republican Carol Miller. He vowed to support working-class Americans and to eliminate financial elitism in the federal government by setting wage limits for politicians and enforcing charitable donations for politicians and top earners.
The Democrat didn’t say on Friday what his next step would be. But he declared: “My fight is not over. I’m gonna continue being a voice, and I’m not done.”