A Democratic candidate for the West Virginia state Senate was brutally attacked at a political cookout just two days before the state’s primary in an attack his family believes was politically motivated, WSAZ reported.
Richard Ojeda suffered eight facial fractures, severe swelling, and a concussion after suspect Jonathan Porter allegedly showed up to a Sunday cookout uninvited, according to the report.
Porter allegedly asked Ojeda, a military veteran, for help putting a bumper sticker on his car and started beating him with brass knuckles when he bent down to help, the local station reported. Witnesses told police the suspect also tried to run Ojeda over with his car while trying to flee the scene.
Porter turned himself into police about six hours later and was charged with felony destruction of property, malicious assault and attempt to commit a felony, according to WSAZ.
After the attack, Ojeda posted a photo of his battered face from the hospital on Facebook, and said he believes the attack was planned.
“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,” he wrote.
Ojeda’s opponent in the race, incumbent state Sen. Art Kirkendoll, strongly condemned the attack in a statement.
“I was informed that my opponent was physically assaulted and injured at a political function today. I do not now, nor have I ever, condoned violence. It has no place in our political campaigns or in our communities,” Kirkendoll said.