Former state senator Richard Ojeda announced the end of a longshot bid for the presidency Friday.
The news came just over two weeks after he announced his resignation from his Senate seat to focus on his presidential campaign.
“When I was a child my grade school teachers told us all that anyone in America could grow up and become President,” he said.
“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.”
Ojeda’s campaign fizzled out almost as strangely as it arrived.
It began when he lost his congressional election to current Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.Va., by about 13 points in November.
Days later, he blamed the loss on President Donald Trump’s involvement in the campaign and announced plans of his own to run for the seat in the Oval Office.
On Jan. 9, with two years left in his term, he announced his resignation from the state Senate, and lamented the rumor of the identity of his eventual successor, former lobbyist Paul Hardesty.
Gov. Jim Justice confirmed the veracity of the rumor, appointing Hardesty to Ojeda’s seat Jan. 17. Hearing news of the appointment, Ojeda attempted — unsuccessfully — to walk back his resignation.
Much of Ojeda’s star power was derived from the 2018 statewide teacher and school service personnel strike in West Virginia, where the public employees cast Ojeda as their hero on the Senate floor.
Now, Senate Republicans are sparring with the same unions in a fight to pass legislation to allow for charter schools in West Virginia, among other pieces of a sweeping education reform bill.
Ojeda could not be reached for comment. The Intercept, an online news publication, first reported the end of his campaign.