“I’m Richard Ojeda and I’m running for the President of the United States of America,” he said at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, less than a week after he lost a West Virginia congressional race by nearly 13 points.
“I think I relate to the people far more than what the President can ever relate to these people,” Ojeda said. “The very people he comes down to West Virginia and stands in front of could never afford one single round of golf in some of his fancy country clubs. That’s not where I stand.”
“I stand with the working-class citizens,” Ojeda said. “I am a Democrat because I believe in what the Democratic Party is supposed to be: taking care of our working-class citizens.”
Ojeda lost on November 6, 2018, the election to represent West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District, a race identified as a battleground that attracted national attention as in the fight for partisan control of the U.S. House in the 116th Congress.
Ojeda earned 75,776 votes in that election, while Republican Carol Miller got 98,048.
Ojeda is a former Army paratrooper who ran as a populist Democrat in West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District.
According to the Federal Election Commission Ojeda filed to papers on Sunday and made an official announcement on Monday at noon.
Ojeda voted for Trump in 2016 but he has soured on the Republican president, and he became the political face of a statewide teachers’ strike in West Virginia.
That Trump vote is not the only thing that might hinder his ability to win the Democratic nomination. Ojeda supports coal in a party with a majority of members dedicated to combating the deadly effects of climate change.
Ojeda says the Democratic Party has lost its roots and become a party controlled by special interests and wealthy donors.
Ojeda proposed a radical plan to deprive political officials from reaping personal benefits through public service.
“Anyone who is elected to Federal public office, or is appointed to the Cabinet, must sacrifice any net worth over a million dollars to charity of their choice (a real charity, not some family foundation run by their kids),” said a statement on the candidate’s website. “After they retire from public office, they will collect a $130,000 pension per year.”
“They can make another $120,000, on their own, for a total of $250,000 per year maximum for life, subject to automatic yearly cost of living adjustments,” Ojeda said. “If you really want to sell your country out to big pharma, all you can get in return for your soul is $120,000.”
Finally, Ojeda said, “Elected officials will have the same health care package options as everyday Americans.”
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