Former West Virginia State Sen. Richard Ojeda ended his long-shot presidential bid on Friday. A leader of the state’s teachers strikes last year, Ojeda concluded that the campaign ultimately wasn’t winnable and told his supporters that he could no longer ask people to contribute money to a cause he thought was lost.
“I don’t want to see people send money to a campaign that’s probably not going to get off the ground,” he said in a video he recorded and provided to The Intercept and The Young Turks.
Hints that he was picking up momentum were strong, he said in an accompanying statement, but not strong enough. “The indications were very positive from an overwhelming response to our videos, to thousands of volunteers, and a level of grassroots fundraising support that grew every day. However, the last thing I want to do is accept money from people who are struggling for a campaign that does not have the ability to compete,” he said.
Ojeda said he is planning to announce his next move soon. He launched his presidential bid in November, running as an unapologetic class warrior from an area of the country Donald Trump won handily. (Ojeda voted for Trump and turned on the president early in his term.) Last month, Ojeda released one of the strongest abortion rights platforms in contemporary Democratic politics. He waged an unsuccessful bid for the House in 2018, losing by 13 points in a district that Trump carried by 49 points two years earlier.
He recently joined striking Los Angeles teachers on a picket line.
Ryan Grim is the author of the forthcoming book We’ve Got People: The Rise of a New Political Force in American Politics. Sign up here to get an email when it’s released.