The first Democrat candidate for the 2020 Presidential election has formally entered the race.
West Virginia state senator and retired U.S. Army Maj. Richard Ojeda plans to run for President despite his defeat for a Congressional seat last week, CNN reported Monday.
“I’m Richard Ojeda and I’m running for the President of the United States of America,” he said in an announcement in Washington, D.C., at the Korean War Veterans Memorial. The announcement was streamed live from his Facebook page – watch the video below:
Ojeda previously served as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army, where his career spanned 24 years. He originally enlisted after high school, steadily climbing the ranks from private to major, and served as chief of operations for his unit during deployment to Iraq, The Intercept reported after an exclusive interview.
So far, Ojeda appears to be attempting to appeal to working-class voters and drawing a contrast between himself and President Donald Trump.
“I think I relate to the people far more than what the President can ever relate to these people. 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,” Ojeda said Monday.
“I stand with the working-class citizens. I am a Democrat because I believe in what the Democratic Party is supposed to be: taking care of our working-class citizens,” he added.
Richard Ojeda’s case for his candidacy is straightforward: The Democratic Party has gotten away from its roots, and he has a unique ability to win over a white, black, and brown working-class coalition by arguing that Trump is a populist fraud. https://t.co/5xjLNB523w
— The Intercept (@theintercept) November 12, 2018
Ojeda contends that Democrat Party has become elitist, but he remains in the party because he resonates with the roots of what the party used to be.
“I have been a Democrat ever since I registered to vote, and I’ll stay a Democrat, but that’s because of what the Democratic Party was supposed to be,” he told The Intercept.
“The reason why the Democratic Party fell from grace is because [they’ve] become nothing more than elitist. That was it. Goldman Sachs, that’s who they were. The Democratic Party is supposed to be the party that fights for the working class, and that’s exactly what I do. I will stand with unions wholeheartedly, and that’s the problem: the Democratic Party wants to say that, but their actions do not mirror that,” Ojeda explained.
President Trump called Ojeda “stone cold crazy” last month while campaigning for his opponent, Carol Miller, The Hill had reported.
— ABC News (@ABC) November 12, 2018
Ojeda fired back, saying, “If you want to label me a ‘stone cold crazy wacko’ because I cannot go to sleep at night knowing that we’ve got children hungry, that we’ve got elderly people cutting meds in half because we are attacking Social Security; we have an opioid epidemic that has killed more than the lives lost and we don’t have nobody who has a backbone to stand up to big Pharma, then I will gladly be ‘stone cold crazy’ and I will be your ‘wacko.’”
Ojeda previously voted for Trump in 2016, something that Democrats may consider his biggest weakness. However, Ojeda has changed his stance on the President, even blaming Trump for “throwing stones” and influencing his defeat to Miller.
In Ojeda’s local 3rd Congressional District in West Virginia, he amassed just 43.6 percent of the vote while Republican opponent Carol Miller won with 56.4 percent of the vote. In 2016, the same district voted overwhelmingly for Trump, who won the district with 73 percent of the vote, while Hillary Clinton only secured 23 percent.