by Ron Gregory
LOGAN — State Senator Richard Ojeda, a Logan County Democrat, has kicked off his campaign for congress by claiming to be a “Cold War Veteran.”
Ojeda, who announced last Friday that he will run for Congress from the Third District in the 2018 election, has based his political career on references to his service in the military. But most observers say a claim on ActBlue that Ojeda is a “Cold War Veteran” caught them by surprise.
“I thought the cold war was over before he got there,” said a high-ranking former military officer. “Didn’t it end in 1989?”
The so-called Cold War refers to a breakdown among allies who opposed Germany in World War II. Although no major attacks occurred during this time, some “proxy wars” were fought on a small-scale basis. Many consider the former Soviet Union’s discontinuation of the Berlin, Germany wall as the end of the cold war. That was in 1989 after U.S. President Ronald Reagan asked his Soviet counterpart to “tear down this wall.” The wall separated the east and west portions of Germany. The east was primarily influenced by the Soviet bloc with the west controlled by the U.S. and Britain.
According to timelines Ojeda has previously used, he entered the military in 1989 or 1990, depending up0n which narrative is used. He says he graduated from high school in 1989.
“Ojeda has claimed about everything you could with regard to his military service,” said the retired officer. “I guess fighting the cold war is not too far of a stretch under the circumstances. Of course there were no battles or fights as part of the cold war.”
The ActBlue site, which is designed to raise campaign funds for candidates, also claims “Major Ojeda has lead (sic) troops in peacetime and in war and managed equipment and budgets into the millions.”
The senator is seeking what at this point may be an open congressional seat, with incumbent Congressman Evan Jenkins, a Republican, announcing that he will run for U.S. Senate next year. Many others have expressed interest in the vacancy, including fellow House Republican Rupie Phillips, State GOP Chair Conrad Lucas, Democrat Huntington Mayor Steve Williams, and former Democrat Cabell County Delegate Kevin Craig. There has been speculation that former Logan County Commissioner and state senator Art Kirkendoll may be enticed to run as well. He previously served in the senate seat now occupied by Ojeda.
“Right now Richard Ojeda is serving as a state senator where he managed to get historic medical cannabis legislation passed in one of the most conservative state legislatures,” his ActBlue account says. The senator’s daily crusade for marijuana legalization has been controversial with many in his district, which is well known as part of the “Bible belt.”
The ActBlue account goes on to seek contributions up to $1,000, which is the state donation limit. Congressional campaigns are governed by federal election law and include a higher contribution threshold.
At press time, a gauge monitoring contributions on the site had not moved from zero.
To view the page or contribute to the campaign, go to https:/secure.actblue.com/