American politician and retired U.S. Army officer
Richard Neece Ojeda II (oh-JED-ə; born October 25, 1970) is an American politician and retired United States Army major who served in the West Virginia Senate representing the 7th district from 2016 until 2019. A member of the Democratic Party, he ran a brief campaign for President of the United States in the 2020 election. Raised in Logan, West Virginia, Ojeda graduated from West Virginia State University and Webster University. He initially joined the United States Army as an enlisted soldier and went through officer training after finishing college. During his 25 years in the military, Ojeda earned two Bronze Star Medals and rose to the rank of major. After retiring, he initially worked as a Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps teacher before running for office. Ojeda was elected to the West Virginia Senate in 2016. He received national attention when he became a vocal supporter of the 2018 teachers' strike and advocated for the legalization of cannabis in West Virginia. In November 2018, Ojeda announced his candidacy for president in the 2020 election, but he dropped out in January 2019 when his campaign failed to gain traction. In January 2020, Ojeda announced he would instead challenge incumbent U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito in the 2020 election, but he failed to secure the Democratic nomination in the primary.
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