- The Washington Times - Monday, May 9, 2016

A West Virginia Senate candidate running in Tuesday’s primary was brutally beaten at a campaign event Sunday afternoon and hospitalized with multiple fractures to his head and face.

Richard Ojeda, 45, was attending a political cookout around 60 miles southwest of Charleston on Sunday afternoon when he says he was attacked from behind.

Mr. Ojeda, a Democrat vying for the District 7 West Virginia Senate seat, told NBC News that he was placing a bumper sticker on the back of an acquaintance’s vehicle during Sunday’s event when he was suddenly ambushed.

“That’s all I remember,” Mr. Ojeda said. “When I woke up, my head was on a tree stump covered in blood. Everyone was looking at me.”

The acquaintance, Jonathan Stuart Porter, showed up to the cookout uninvited, Mr. Ojeda’s family told WSAZ News. He allegedly attempted to flee the scene of the ambush in his truck and nearly ran over Mr. Ojeda in the process, witnesses added to NBC, then eluded authorities by hiding in the mountains for six hours on Sunday before he peacefully surrendered.

Mr. Porter, 41, is now being held on suspicion of malicious assault, malicious attempted assault and felony destruction of property.

Mr. Ojeda grew up with Mr. Porter and described him as an “idiot” in a Facebook post published Monday morning.

“I have been threatened before but I never really knew it would come to this,” wrote Mr. Ojeda, an U.S. Army veteran. “I have dealt with the Taliban and Al Qaeda……I am not scared of those of you who think you can intimidate me. It’s not in my bloodline! Step aside because we are taking our counties back!”

Mr. Ojeda was still in the trauma unit of a Charleston hospital on Monday morning, but he said he intended on leaving in time to participate in events during Tuesday’s primary before returning for surgery later in the week.

Incumbent State Sen. Art Kirkendoll, a Democrat, condemned the attack in a statement and wished his opponent a speedy recovery.

“I was informed that my opponent was physically assaulted and injured at a political function today,” he said in a statement, NBC reported. “I do not now, nor have I ever, condoned violence. It has no place in our political campaigns or in our communities.”

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