According to Salon, Democratic candidate Richard Ojeda—also an Army veteran—was at a cookout hosted by one of his supporters when he was asked by a man to help put a bumper sticker on a car.
The individual in question, Jonathan Porter, waited until Ojeda’s back was turned to beat him unconscious with brass knuckles. After onlookers noticed what was happening, Porter fled the scene, although he turned himself into police six hours later.
Ojeda was urgently taken to the hospital, but he took the time to address the situation on Facebook, writing, “Sorry for the pic but make no mistake, I am now even more dedicated to the cause. This doesn’t scare me and I don’t quit! This was premeditated and there was a reason the guy did this. Regardless, if anyone thinks that this will get me to march in line you obviously don’t know me very well.”
Ojeda’s Democratic opponent, Art Kirkendoll, has stated that he was in no way involved with the incident, expressing, “My and my family’s thoughts and prayers are with my opponent and his family and we wish him a speedy recovery.”
Ojeda has said that he personally knows Porter and his family, noting, “I haven't spoken to that Jonathan idiot in years which tells me that there was more to this.”
Full details regarding Porter’s intent have yet to be revealed, although Ojeda is challenging an incumbent state senator who hopes to keep his seat, and police suspect the attack was "politically motivated."
Regardless, this display of violence toward a political candidate is despicable yet unfortunately indicative of our current political climate. Despite this appalling setback, Ojeda should undoubtedly continue to fight for his ideals in the upcoming West Virginia primary.
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