West Virginia veteran exits from 2020 presidential race

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — While other Democrats around the country are preparing for presidential runs, a retired Army paratrooper and former West Virginia lawmaker became the first to call off his White House bid after about two months as a candidate Friday.

Richard Ojeda says he isn’t getting the money or attention needed to sustain a campaign.

“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 wrote in a statement on social media.

The tattooed veteran who recently ran for Congress announced his campaign for the Democratic nomination for president on Veterans Day at the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Ojeda said he was told as a child that anyone could grow up to be president.

“I now realize that this is not the case. Unless someone has extreme wealth or holds influence and power it just isn’t true,” he wrote in a Facebook post.

Ojeda was elected to the West Virginia Senate in 2016 and became a champion of teachers during their fight for better pay and benefits. He sponsored successful legislation to make medical marijuana legal, and has stressed health care and economic issues in a district reeling from lost coal jobs.

On Friday, he said he’ll make an announcement soon about his future.

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